October's birthstones are the gorgeously multicolored opal and tourmaline.
Opals are gemstones composed of silica that come in a wonderful variety of multicolored appearances. The legends associated with opals are strongly linked to their unique appearance. For example, Romans believed the opal gemstone must be the most precious of them all since they can contain all the colors of other gemstones. The mix of colors present in opals are often described as similar to the flicker of lightening.
The majority of opal mining is carried out in Australia in a place called the Lightening Ridge Mine. The most prevalent and affordable opals are white opals that appear to have a mix of red, blue and white tones within one stone. The rarest and sometimes most expensive opals are black opals. Some splendid specimens can have up to ten colors mixed and swirling within one stone.
Opals are composed of 20% water. When it comes to opal jewelry there is a bit of caution that needs to be taken since as time passes some opals can craze. This happens when there is a loss of moisture in the gem that occurs over time, causing the opal to resemble a spiderweb and unfortunately the opal could then shatter into many pieces. Opals in general are a soft and brittle stone, only 5 to 6 on the Mohs' scale, that should be worn with care and caution. Black opals are much more resilient than white opals. All this being said about the wear-ability of opals, they are still one of my favorite gemstones and I would not hesitate to purchase one. I try to keep a beautiful black opal set in one of Marsha's masterpieces available most of the time.
Here are some images of jewelry projects we have custom crafted to feature beautiful opals.
Tourmaline is the other beautiful choice in gemstones for an October birthday. In 1554 the expedition of Francisco Spinoza discovered what was called the “Brazilian emerald”, which was actually the first recorded discovery of a green tourmaline. Tourmaline can come in many colors including different shades of green, pink, red and one of my favorites being a watermelon tourmaline in which the crystal is both pink and green. Tourmaline comes from many different countries including mines in Africa, Brazil, Russia and Myanmar. The Mohs hardness rating for tourmaline is 7 to 7.5 which makes it durable enough for daily wear. We have created many beautiful custom jewelry project with tourmaline as the centerpiece.
Here are some pictures of custom crafted jewelry featuring beautiful tourmaline gemstones.