Those born in October get to choose between two birthstones, each of which comes in a rainbow of shades and colours.
The name opal originates from the Greek word opallios, which means “to see a change in colour”. Opal is composed of microscopic silica spheres that diffract light to display various colours of the rainbow. There are quite a few varieties of opal and they are referred to by their background colour (e.g. black, white, blue, pink, etc.).
Due to its colours, opal has been compared to fireworks, jellyfish, galaxies, lightning and volcanoes. Historically, opal has been associated with good luck. In addition to being a birthstone for October, it is also gifted for 14th wedding anniversary.
The name tourmaline means a “stone of mixed colours”. The reason for this is that it is composed not from one mineral, but a fairly complex group of minerals with different chemical compositions and physical properties. Certain trace elements produce distinct colours and some of them have their own names. For instance, black tourmaline (also known as schorl) is rich in iron. Brown tourmaline (also known as dravite) is rich in magnesium. Red tourmaline (also known as rubellite) is rich in manganese. Blue tourmaline (also known as indicolite) gets its colour from iron and titanium. Green tourmaline (also known as verdelite) is rich in chrome and vanadium and might resemble emerald. Vividly coloured tourmaline (also known as paraiba) gets its vivid and strong colours from copper.
One of the ancient legends says that tourmaline is found in all colours because it travelled along a rainbow and gathered all of the rainbow’s colours. It is believed to strengthen the body and spirit, especially the nervous system, blood and lymph. It is also thought to inspire creativity and has been extensively used as a talisman by artists and writers throughout times. In addition to being a birthstone for those born in October, tourmaline is also gifted as a 18th wedding anniversary present.