October has finally arrived and for most, that means pumpkin patches, colder weather, football games, and sweaters! October is also known for being breast cancer awareness month and the color to support this is pink! October's birthstones plays right into the pink theme.
Tourmaline has been used in jewelry for centuries, but it was identified as other stones. Green tourmaline was discovered by Portuguese explorers in the mid 1500's but was confused with emerald. The name tourmaline stems from the word toramalli, which means mixed gems. Tourmalines come in a variety of colors and has one of the widest color ranges of all the gems. Some of the names of the varieties are:
- Indicolite which is a dark violet blue, greenish blue, or blue.
- Paraiba tourmaline which is a intense violets blue, greenish blue or blue from the state of Paraiba, Brazil.
- Chrome tourmaline which is an intense green.
- Parti-colored tourmaline which is more than one color. Most common is pink and green combination.
- Rubelitte which is pink, red, or purplish red.
Tourmaline's main sources come from Brazil, Afghanistan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Russia, and the United States. The Mohs scale ranks the hardness of stones based on a scale of 1 to 10. 10 is the hardest, which happens to be a diamond. The hardness of this stone on the Mohs scale is a 7 to 7.5. Tourmalines should be cleaned with warm soapy water to avoid damage. We love tourmalines for the beautiful colors which is perfect for October!
The other birthstone this month is one of the most popular phenomenal gem. Some cultures have even given credit to the opal for supernatural powers. Ancient Greeks thought that opals guarded them from disease and the Europeans have long considered the gem a symbol of hope, purity, and truth. Opal is a very beautiful stone that is known for flashes of color or play of color. Opal has been regarded as one of the luckiest and magical of all the gems because its play of color. Opals are categorized into four different types which are:
- White opal which has a translucent to semi translucent play of color against a white or light gray body.
- Black opal which has a translucent to opaque play of color against a clack or dark body.
- Fire opal which has a transparent to translucent brown, red, orange, or yellow body, and normally doesn't show a play of color.
- Boulder opal wich is translucent to opaque play of color against a light to dark background with host rock fragments in the finish.
Fine black opal is rare and limited, but white and fire opals are generally available. The main sources of opal today are Australia, Brazil, and Mexico. Opal's hardness on the Mohs scale is a 5 to 6.5 and it's toughness is very poor to fair. Opals are considered to be a soft stone. We would recommend putting this stone in a necklace.
Which ever October birthstone you like the best, you can't go wrong with these two. Opals and tourmalines are perfect for October and the change of weather!