The opal, October’s birthstone, is one of the most dramatic stones the world has ever seen. Writers compare them to fireworks, volcanoes, and galaxies due to the explosion of colors within every one. If you’re interested in learning about opal birthstones or what is October’s other birthstone, keep reading for all the details from our experts.
The Origin of Opal
Opals come in a variety of base colors, including white, black, red, and blue. Regardless of this primary color, however, opal birthstones are infamous for the interplay of hues that sparkles within. Because light cannot penetrate opals, it bounces around inside and refracts off the planes within, sending out sparkles in different hues as it encounters the different silica and minerals.
Many cultures hold religious or mythological beliefs about opals and their power. Bedouins, for example, thought that each opal stone held a little bit of lightning that fell from the sky during storms. Greeks believed that opals protected you from disease and gave you the ability to see the future. For Europeans, opals were a symbol of hope, truth, and purity. Because of its multi-colored nature, many people believed that opal actually embodied the virtues and powers of all other gemstones, as well.
Where to Find Opal
Different varieties of opal birthstones have been found all around the world, including in regions of Australia, Ethiopia, Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Madagascar, Indonesia, and Turkey. There are even deposits in the United States. Australia, however, is the most famous source for some types of opal, including black opal. Boulder opal is another rare type of this stone that can only be found in Australia. Other types of opal, like white and blue, are a little more common, and these around found around the world.
Opals in Jewelry
Opal birthstones are unique in more than just their color variety. They are also among the only birthstone that is set naturally. Instead of cutting and faceting opals, they’re usually polished into a cabochon, a smooth rounded design, in order to allow as much light as possible to refract off the interior of the piece.
Opals at Pompeii3
While some people set simple opal cabochons in silver settings, we take our designs a step further. Our opal collection includes stones set in white or yellow gold and accented with diamonds and other gemstones. When you shop with us, you’ll discover fine jewelry designs that enhance the beauty and elegance of white opals, fire opals, and more!
Opal Care & Cleaning
Opal birthstones are some of the softer gemstones, ranking a 5 - 6.5 on the Mohs scale, making them a little more susceptible to everyday wear and tear. In order to preserve your opals, we recommend wearing them only for special occasions and storing them away from other jewelry pieces to prevent scratching.
Clean your opal with warm, soapy water, as other methods may damage the opal or the specialty coating many sources apply to protect the stone. Do not treat opals the same way you would treat diamonds and other gems.
What is October’s Other Birthstone?
While opal birthstones are generally a favorite, October also has one other birthstone: tourmaline. This is a newer addition to the birthstone archives to supplement the original selection.
You might be wondering why tourmaline was the second choice for October’s birthstone because it seems so different from opal. However, they’re more similar than you think! Tourmaline’s name is originally from the Sinhalese word toramalli, which translates as “stone of mixed colors.” Tourmaline comes in a variety of hues and often showcases multiple hues in one stone, transitioning from one to the next like a watercolor painting. So October has two stones that have unique transitioning colors in the same gem!
Meaning of Tourmaline
While opal birthstones were often related to honesty and purity, tourmaline stones were believed to imbue the wearer with protection, strength, and courage. Each color of tourmaline had a slightly different variation of the meaning behind it and provided a unique quality to its wearer.
Finding Birthstone Jewelry
Whether you’re searching for tourmaline or opal birthstone jewelry, Pompeii3 is here to help. With our massive selection of styles, you can find a piece that perfectly fits your sense of style and aesthetic in a high-quality design. Explore vintage-inspired engagement rings, sleek contemporary pendants, and classic stud earrings in every size and shape!
Ready to start shopping? Start your journey in our opal collection to find October’s birthstone front and center.