According to the Farmers' Almanac, the October birthstone, the opal, symbolizes faithfulness and confidence. The word comes from the Greek word opallios, meaning “to see a change in color.” An alternate birthstone is Pink Tourmaline, which has long symbolized compassion and unconditional love.
More than any other birthstone, the opal is surrounded by mystery and legend. Depending on one's culture, there is a vast array of beliefs associated with the stone. Centuries ago, the opal was thought to be good luck. The Romans believed the opal was a symbol of hope, like the rainbow. The vast array of colors in opals made them just as unique as a rainbow. The Greeks believed the opal gave its owner the gift of prophecy, and many Greek rulers gave opal jewelry to their wives as the stone was a symbol of fidelity and assurance. In medieval times, all blonde maidens wanted a necklace made of opals, as this was considered an absolute guarantee to prevent their hair from fading or darkening. The opal was also thought to make a person invisible whenever he wished.
While there is some conjecture on the exact process of opal formation, most agree that a beautiful opal is formed from rain. It is formed when water from rain seeps down into crevasses in the rock. Once the water evaporates, the silica that is left behind dries out and hardens into precious opal. The play of color you see in opal is due to millions of tiny silica spheres of different sizes. These spheres refract light and cause the beautiful spectral colors you see in an opal. The spheres have to be just the right size and of a uniform nature to create enough color for our eyes to see. In the David Yurman necklace above you can see the stunning colors of opal reflecting the lights.
Did you know that pink tourmaline is considered the modern birthstone for October? It was added when the National Association of Jewelers decided to create a list of accepted birthstones for each month in 1952.
Because of their wide range of color, tourmaline stones have intrigued people for centuries. In ancient Egypt, legend had it that tourmaline acquired its many colors by traveling along a rainbow in a journey from the earth to the sun. Other civilizations thought that wearing tourmaline could help one become more artistic and aesthetically inclined. In other ancient cultures, people believed tourmaline could actually glow in the dark from its own energy. This is not entirely untrue, as tourmaline does have electrical properties which were a subject of great fascination to scientists during the 18th century. Tourmaline is often called the "healer's stone". It is said to aid in communication, and imparting compassion, wisdom, acceptance and sympathy towards others. It also balances opposing types of energy and imparts self-confidence and serenity upon the wearer. Pink tourmaline attracts love and friendship.
Tourmaline is a gemstone praised for the wide variety of colors in which it occurs. Even among pink tourmalines there is a broad spectrum of color, from pastel blush to bubblegum to an almost fuschia. You will also find many interesting mixed hues that create a bit of an ombre effect, including pink-red and orange-pinks. American jewelry designer David Yurman offers a vast array of designs featuring the vibrant pink tourmaline. Check out all of the options from David Yurman here.
David Yurman collections include beautiful opals, opaque pink opals, and pink tourmaline - all perfect gifts for a loved one with a birthday in October! Visit TIVOL on the Country Club Plaza or Hawthorne Plaza to see the newest trends in opal and tourmaline designs!