Opal and Tourmaline
Those of us who celebrate their birthday in October are lucky to have the choice between two equally beautiful gems for a birthstone. These are tourmaline and opal both of which come in a rainbow of shades and colors for the individual taste. October babies are then lucky to have lots of choices on the table when it comes to picking a stone that will help impart good things in their lives. While these stones are known for their multiple colors and color changes, they are prone to being mistaken for to other gems. The following description will help you understand the appearance, value and significance of the two stones and how to distinguish them from fakes.
Like other gems, tourmaline comes in a variety of shades because of the variations in the chemical components of the rock material and the circumstances under which it was formed. On the other hand, opal has the unique ability to diffract light and play around with colors to show more than one color. These two are not nearly the same material and should not be put in the same category on any other list other than that they are both an October birthstone.
If you or someone you love has an October birthday, then you are among the lucky few who get to choose between two types of gems with multiple variants for a birthstone. The two stones are equally desirable to an extent that they are almost equal in worth save for the sentimental value they carry from their previous owners. They are both elegant and beautiful stones and have a long history as the dual is a conversational must have piece for your collection. Opal has this appealing design that complements the tourmalines crystal web almost as though they were meant to co-exist.
This gem gets its name from the word Tula mali which is a Sinhalese word meaning stone of mixed colors. Like diamonds, the stone has the ability to split light into the various components forming a rainbow of shades and colors.
Chemically, tourmaline is a complex combination of elements as opposed to just one element. All these components often have different chemical and physical characteristics but they are miraculously combined to form a very beautiful gemstone. As aforementioned, the colors of the tourmaline gem vary as the elements contained in them in the different proportions. For instance, black tourmaline also called Schorl is an iron rich version of the rock which causes some earthy shades progressing to a bluish-black hue. It is the most abundant form tourmaline making up a staggering 95 % of all tourmaline on earth.
Another type of tourmaline is Dravite which contains magnesium and has colors ranging from brown to yellow. This form of the gem was found in Dravite district of Slovenia hence the name. other variants of the tourmaline array of gems include the Elbaite which contains lithium in traces and other coloring elements. Manganese causes the color of tourmaline to turn red while a mixture of iron and titanium makes the stones appear green with a bluish hue. This earlier form of the stone resembles emeralds green in color.
History of Tourmaline
Tourmaline has been known to man for thousands of years and served the pharaohs. As an Egyptian legend goes, the tourmaline rocks found their many colors by passing through the center of a rainbow on its journey to the surface of the earth.
Because of its beauty and multicolor property, the stone has also suffered the same fate as peridots, that of being mistaken for other gems. For hundreds maybe thousands of years people thought tourmaline to be the same material as emeralds.
Over the years, tourmaline has been found and mined in different parts of the world but it is still rare to find gem-quality tourmaline with bright colors. The stone’s worth varies as much as its color.
Opal is a derivative of the Greek word opallos which means “seeing change in color”. The name describes the feature of opal appears ins a unique set of colors, a feast for the eyes. In essence, no opal gem is identical to any other because each stone has different arrangements on a molecular level and will, therefore, diffract light differently. The characteristic opal’s play of light comes from the interior composition of tiny silica spheres that are capable of diffracting light at different intensities when light is falling on the stone upon the right spots.
History of Opal
Arabic legends have it that opals fell from the sky in lightning bolts. In ancient Australia, it was a popular belief that the creator must have come to earth riding on a rainbow and that opals were the footstones where his feet touched the ground. Many people also believed that the opal could simulate the power of the many healing stones whose colors it could imitate and respected it as a powerful and lucky healing stone.
Opal and Tourmaline birthstones
Opal and tourmaline spoil you with choice when you need a birthstone for your October baby. They are both versatile in use and come with highly customizable pieces based on your individual preferences. On a deeper level, these stones have a meaning for the baby in question. First of all, the color should reflect the character of the person to whom the gift is to be given. Generally, when given as birthstones both stones will symbolize a return to connect with nature and the rest of humanity. The tourmaline healing stone is very useful in stripping your surroundings of any negative vibes and leaving you to live life to the fullest. Similarly, opal is useful in bringing thoughts of innocence and purity.
Paraiba Tourmaline gems
This guide cannot be complete without mentioning the latest yet one of the most coveted tourmaline gems around the world. It is the Paraiba tourmaline gemstones which present a special shade of electric blue and green that takes after the blue ocean shore in Paraiba, the origin. Since their discovery in the 1980s, these stunning and pricey gems are not found or have not yet been discovered in any other part of the world.