What is the Birthstone for October?
The October Birthstone is Opal.
Basically there are two birthstones for the month of October. These are the opal and the pink tourmaline. Opal was derived from the ancient Sanskrit word “upala” and the Latin word “opalus” which means precious stone. The opal is the most common gemstone.
The opal is made up of microscopic silica spheres that is held together by other silicas and water. It is a very fragile hydrated silica material. The opal is a soft stone and can be altered easily in appearance by heat and pressure. The opal contains different amounts of water and this is what determines the appearance of the opal. If the water evaporates out of the opal, the mineral will appear slightly smaller and the effect of the evaporation will create crack on the gemstone.
How Opals are Formed
You can actually find an opal in near-surface volcanic rocks. It is found within the cavities and cracks. In a sedimentary ash rock, the opal is formed by percolating water that dissolves the silica and eventually precipitates and results in an opal. The opal is sometimes formed in the cavities of left behind by fossils, shells, bones, or wood, when the original material has degraded.
The Color of Opals
Opals are very famous because of their multi-colored effects and their often dazzling array of colors. The colors seen in opals represent every color of the rainbow. The amazing colors are caused by the interaction of light in the stone's small cracks and due to stone's many natural impurities. If you see some pearly or milky appearance on opals, this is because of the presence of tiny gas bubbles. The red and yellows betray the abundance of iron oxides. The beautiful black opal can sometimes appear green, blue or red, this is caused by the magnesium oxides and carbon within the opal. Possibly the most valuable opal is the harlequin, it is a large stone with angular patches of yellow, red and green and it resembles the checks on a clown's dress.
Where Opals are Found
The major source of opals is in Australia. The country is also noted for the abundance of the magnificent black opals. Fire opals can still be found in abundance in Mexico. The brilliant fire opals can also be found in the state of Nevada in the United States. Other sources of the opal are Honduras, Nicaragua, Japan, Ireland, Guatemala, and Brazil.
Meanings of the Opal
The opal represents love and hope according to the ancient Romans. The opal is sometimes called the Anchor of Love. Legend states that it fell from the sky in flashes of lightning. Ancient civilizations say that it makes the wearer powerful by being invisible. The opal was also a popular amulet of spies and thieves.
During the Medieval Age, if the opal changes its color, it was believed that the owner was either ill or in good health. The gemstone was also used to maintain a strong heart, for protection from infection, as a cure for fainting, and as an air freshener.