October has 2 birthstones to celebrate. Originally, Opal was stone of choice but later it was considered to be too girly and not strong enough to wear everyday so Tourmaline was named October birthstone too.
The traditional October birthstone name, Opal my come from India. In Sanskrit the word is upala means “precious stone." Other people belive it comes from the Latin "opalus"
Opals are usually valued beacuse they shift colors in rainbow hues. This is called “play-of-color.” Usually Mined in Ethiopia or Australia, opals can be found in other parts of the works. They have been added to Royal jewels everywhere. Opals come in a variety of colors, the most common ones are white, green or translucent.
Opals are considered a mineraloid, like obsidian, amber and pearl. A mineraloid is a naturally occurring substance with no arranged crystals. The atoms of the mineral are not arranged at regular intervals as they are in crystals.
Black opal is the most rare to find, so more valued.
The most expensive opal in the world is the Virgin Rainbow and it is in exhibit at the South Australian Museum
Tourmaline is the newer October birthstone. The name comes from the Sinhalese word toramalli, which means “stone with mixed colors,” because it often has many colors in one crystal. Very few gems match tourmaline’s dazzling array of colors. It can also be as clear as a Diamond.
This is why ancient mystics believed this October birthstone could inspire artistic expression. It has a color palette for every mood and it can change depending on the side you see it. Among the most popular, are the pink and red rubellites, the emerald green “chrome” tourmalines, and the neon green and blue-to-violet “paraíba” tourmalines.
Because of its vast range of colors, tourmaline was often mistaken for other gemstones. One of the “rubies” in the Russian crown jewels, the “Caesar’s Ruby” pendant, is actually red (rubellite) tourmaline. A Spanish conquistador found green tourmaline crystals in Brazil in the 1500s and confused the stones with emerald.
These and other cases of mistaken identity continued for centuries. Scientists recognized tourmaline as a distinct mineral species in the 1800s.
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