October's Birthstones: Opal & Tourmaline

October is a month of transformation and vibrant change, perfectly embodied by its two birthstones: opal and tourmaline. Known for their captivating beauty and diverse appeal, these gems are more than just adornments; they are symbols of October's dynamic spirit. Read on to discover why opal and tourmaline continue to enchant jewelry lovers everywhere!

The Allure and History 

Opal is celebrated for its unique "play of color," where a single stone can display an entire rainbow of brilliant colors. This remarkable feature occurs because of the microscopic silica spheres within the opal, which diffract light. From milky whites with subtle pastels to dark, vivid shades, opals offer an incredible range of appearances. The most prized are the black opals, often found in Lightning Ridge, Australia, known for their deep, dark body color that makes their play of color even more striking.

Historically, opals have been regarded as symbols of purity and hope. Ancient Romans believed opals to be the most powerful and precious gemstones, as they were thought to contain the colors of all other gems. During the Middle Ages, opals were believed to bring good luck and were often set in the crowns and jewelry of royalty.

Pictured: East to West Oval Australian Boulder Opal Bezel Set Ring

Tourmaline, on the other hand, dazzles with its wide variety of colors. The name "tourmaline" comes from the Sinhalese word "toramalli," meaning "stone with mixed colors." Tourmaline can be found in virtually every color, making it one of the most versatile gemstones. Pink and green tourmalines are especially popular, but blue, red, yellow, and even multi-colored stones are also highly sought after. Our favorite color variety is "watermelon," pink and green captured within a single stone!

Tourmaline's history is equally rich. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that tourmaline traveled along a rainbow on its way from the Earth’s core, which gave it an incredible array of colors. This gem has also been considered a powerful talisman, providing protection and promoting happiness and harmony.

Pictured: Bezel Set Watermelon Tourmaline Ring

Symbolism & Significance

Opals are often associated with creativity and inspiration, making them a favorite among artists and creatives. Their ability to reflect a spectrum of colors symbolizes hope and purity, and they are believed to enhance imagination and dreams.

Almost every member of Team Carter's has their very own opal piece! This phenomenon happens when you meet the PERFECT opal piece for you that fully captures your attention, and you just have to have it.

Pictured: Halo Australian Opal Doublet Necklace

Tourmaline is known for its ability to promote balance and protection. It is often associated with grounding and stabilizing energies, making it a powerful stone for those seeking harmony in their lives. Each color of tourmaline carries its own unique significance, with pink tourmaline representing love and compassion, green tourmaline symbolizing life and energy, and blue tourmaline bringing calm and tranquility.

Pictured: Green Tourmaline Ring with Baguette Diamond Accents

Famous Sapphires in History

Famous Opals:

  • The Flame Queen Opal: One of the most renowned opals, discovered in Australia, this gem weighs 998 grams and is celebrated for its vivid play of color (pictured in the top left).
  • The Andamooka Opal: Gifted to Queen Elizabeth II, this opal from South Australia is a stunning example of the gem's unique beauty, set in a necklace surrounded by diamonds (pictured in the top right).

Famous Tourmalines:

  • The Russian Crown Jewels: Among the treasures of the Russian Imperial collection are spectacular green tourmalines, showcasing the gem's historic allure (pictured in the bottom right).
  • Paraíba Tourmaline: Discovered in the late 1980s in Brazil, these electric blue-green tourmalines are some of the most prized and valuable gems in the world (pictured in the bottom left). We've been lucky enough to have a few Paraiba Tourmaline gemstones over the years!

Caring for Your October Birthstones

Opals are relatively delicate, with a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. Boulder opals are the hardest variety because they are still attached to the rock they were mined from. Doublet and Cabachon opal have a hardness similar to that of a wine glass. To maintain their beauty, they should be protected from extreme temperature changes and harsh chemicals. Clean your opal jewelry with mild soap and water, and store it in a soft cloth to prevent scratches.

Tourmalines are more durable, with a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. However, they still require gentle care. Clean tourmaline jewelry with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid exposing tourmalines to high heat, which can alter their color.

Pictured: Australian Boulder Opal, Purple Garnet, and Blue Tourmaline Trio Bezel Set Earrings

At Carter's Collective, we celebrate the unique beauty of opal and tourmaline! Whether you're searching for a birthday gift, an anniversary present, or simply a treat for yourself, explore our stunning collection of opal and tourmaline jewelry online or visit us in-store today! Let the vibrant colors and rich histories of these gems bring a touch of October's magic to your life.