The two most widely recognized birthstones for the month of October are White Opal (left) and Pink Tourmaline. Here we explore the characteristics and meanings of both gems. It's worth noting that there are varying shades of both opal (from black opal to fire opal) and tourmaline (from rich greens to bi- and tri-color blends of multiple colors in one gem).
White Opal is a non-crystalline gem comprised hydrated silicon dioxide and is more accurately classified as a mineraloid. You'll see these gems most commonly in polished cabochon dome shapes, which best display the fire and glowing 'play of color' for this gem. Faceting doesn't serve opaque gems the way it serves translucent gems like sapphires or, of course, diamonds; a singular smooth surface is the best way to display an opal or other opaque gem. Additionally, a cabochon-style cut for an opal allows for better structural integrity of the rare gem which ranks a 6 out of 10 on the Mohs scale. Consider storing your opal jewelry away from jewels with stones that are rated higher than 6 on the Mohs Scale. Also, avoid exposing opals to high heat or sudden temperature changes which may cause noticeable fracturing.
The magical color play of Opal gems is known to inspire creativity, bring renewed hope, and attract balance & harmony. Many believe the gem is highly protective of its wearer. Gem quality Opal is quite rare, making it a historical symbol of wealth and status. In a relationship, Opal is a symbol of truth, passion, and healthy independence.
Tourmaline gemstones form in an array of colors, but pink tourmaline (also known as "rubellite" for its resemblance to rubies in richer shades of deep pink or red) is among the most sought after shade. Tourmaline is known to represent love and compassion. It rates 7-7.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, making it considerably more delicate than diamonds with their top rating of 10.
Tourmaline is part of the same silicate group as Opal and other commonly prized gemstones like peridot, aquamarine and emeralds. Tourmaline's chemical composition is quite complex, containing up to 13 elements, but it is the presence of manganese that is believed to cause most red and pink tones in tourmaline gemstones.
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Throughout history, pink tourmaline has been said to bring relaxation and clarity. Crystal healing tradition links this gem with the Heart Chakra, infusing love, spirituality and compassion into your relationship.