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Legendary October Birthstones: Tourmaline and Opal Myths

Legendary October Birthstones: Tourmaline and Opal Myths

The October Birthstones,Tourmaline and Opal are set apart from other birthstones by their dazzling rainbow colors. Rubies, amethysts, emeralds; all of these stones have intense and gorgeous color, but none of them have the diversity of the October birthstones. Perhaps because of their unique coloration, opals and tourmalines are surrounded by myth, superstition, and folklore.
tourmaline birthstone jewelry

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a stone that can be found in every color of the rainbow, and is often found with multiple colors. According to one Egyptian legend, the tourmaline passed over a rainbow as it made its way up from the center of the earth, and took on all the colors for itself. Another legend states that magicians in the Andes mountains crafted magical staffs of tourmaline which contained ancient knowledge of the world.

Because of its mystical colors, common folklore surrounding the tourmaline includes its ability to cure depression, attract friends and lovers, and inspire creativity.

Opal

Because of its glittering and magical appearance, opals have garnered hundreds of legends and myths to explain their creation. Arabic legends tell of opals being born from flashes of lightning, the Greeks believed them to be the tears of Zeus, and in a legend of India the goddess of the rainbow was turned into the stone which became the opal. Australia, the homeland of the opal, has many legends of its own as well, one of the more famous stating that opals sprang from the earth at the touch of the Creator's footsteps. One aboriginal legend even credits the opal with the creation of fire; according to this story, a pelican came upon a field of glittering opals and, being curious, began to peck at them. As he pecked, the fiery stones sparked to life and a fire spread for the first time.

Opals were thought to ward off disease and protect the wearer from evil; in medieval times, blond woman even believed that the stones would preserve the color of their hair. 

Opals and tourmalines may not have magical powers, but one thing is for sure; these colorful stones are as unique as they are beautiful. October may be over, but these magnificent gemstones never go out of season. To find the best of opal or tourmaline jewelry, contact us.

 

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October's Birthstone: Opal, The Fiery Gemstone

October - opal gemstoneOpals are the traditional October birthstone. Because each opal is unique in appearance, jewelry pieces featuring opal gemstones are both beautiful and one of a kind. Opals range in color from milky white to deepest blue, punctuated with flashes of every color in the rainbow. Opals display as much fire as diamonds but with dramatic differences. While diamonds seem to radiate cold brilliance, opals emanate warmth and color.

People have admired the beauty of opals for many millennia. According to the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), the Australian aborigines have a legend about opals:

... which can be traced back in its origins to a time long before our memory, to the ancient dream-time of the Australian aborigines. It is reported in their legends that the creator came down to Earth on a rainbow, in order to bring the message of peace to all the humans. And at the very spot, where his foot touched the ground, the stones became alive and started sparkling in all the colors of the rainbow. That was the birth of the Opals.

 The word opal most likely comes to us by way of a Sanskrit word meaning "valuable stone", which is the probable root of the Latin "opalus". Pliny the Elder referred to opals in his writings, describing them in part as being:

Made up of the glories of the most precious gems, to describe it is a matter of inexpressible difficulty: there is in it the gentler fire of the Ruby, there is the brilliant purple of the Amethyst, there is the sea-green of the Emerald, all shining together in an incredible union...

During the Middle Ages, people wore opals for good luck. Plus, blonde women believed opals would protect their hair color and they were also thought to improve vision. And although some people believe opals bring bad luck, this is a relatively recent superstition with roots only going back as far as the 1831 novel Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter Scott. For most of history, opals have been cherished for their fiery appearance and rare beauty. Today, opals are considered precious gemstones, and a piece of jewelry fashioned from this radiant stone is a treasure to last a lifetime.

For information about custom-made opal Swarovski crystal birthstone jewelry, please contact us today.

Tourmaline, the Rainbow Gemstone

Tourmaline, the Rainbow Gemstone

Rubies are red, emeralds are green. What the heck color is tourmaline?

bicolor tourmalineThe tourmaline gemstone comes in many colors, often in the same stone. Its very name means mixed stone: "tura mali" from the Singhalese phrase "stone mixed with vibrant colors." Red, pink, peach, orange, yellow, brown, green, blue, purple, even black -- tourmaline is one of the most versatile gemstones, appearing in a variety of shades. Bi-color and tri-color stones are especially prized for jewelry. One of the more popular variations is the "watermelon tourmaline," with pink, green, and white color bands appearing naturally in the same stone.

All gems have superstitions associated with them as to the meaning of the stone. Tourmaline, having many colors, has several meanings.

  • Multicolor tourmaline promotes goodwill and self-assurance.  It provides calmness, focus, balance, and protection.
  • Green tourmaline, or verdelite, brings prosperity. It cleanses the spirit.  It is also supposed to enhance strength, courage, stamina, and vitality.
  • Blue tourmaline, or indicolite, aids in verbal difficulties, speech impediments, or throat problems. It is supposed to assist in meditation and communication.
  • Red tourmaline, or rubellite, increases the zest for living and interaction with other people. Like rubies, it is associated with love.
  • Yellow tourmaline is for self-esteem.
  • Brown tourmaline is supposed to infuse the wearer with confidence and courage.
  • Pink tourmaline promotes the healing of emotional pain and compassion. It is also supposed to reduce the tendency to fall, from babies learning to toddle to the elderly.
  • Watermelon tourmaline is supposed to heal emotional pain and bring understanding.
  • Black tourmaline, or schorl, is protection from negative energies. It is supposed to reduce fears, obsessions, panic, and neurosis and produces calmness. Some people consider it a talisman of protection, useful in purifying negative thoughts.
Tourmaline, like opal, is one of the birthstones for October.

    For tourmalines or other gemstones, contact us.

    June 05, 2015 by SWCreations Jewelry
    Octobers Birthstone: Spooky Tales of Pink Tourmaline

    Octobers Birthstone: Spooky Tales of Pink Tourmaline

    There are two October birthstones: opals and pink tourmaline. But while opals are more famous and certainly have their charm, pink tourmaline’s spooky qualities make it the perfect birthstone for the month in which we revel in ghost stories and the supernatural.

    watermelon tourmalineYou see, pink tourmaline shares a unique quality with all tourmaline gemstones—it’s pyroelectric and piezoelectric. That means that when heated or put under pressure, tourmaline gemstones take on an electric charge and can actually pull things towards them. If you vigorously rub and warm up your pink tourmaline birthstone jewelry, it can “magically” attract nearby bits of paper and dust. It might even make the hairs on your arm stand on end!

    But spooky action at a distance isn’t the only haunting quality of this October birthstone. Tourmaline jewelry can also appear to be different colors when viewed from different angles. The scientific explanation for this is pleochroism, an optical phenomenon in which light wavelengths are absorbed and bent in different degrees as they pass through the crystal. The mundane result, however, is that a set of birthstone jewelry is mystical and ever changing. Is it any wonder that tourmaline gemstones have been considered magical since ancient times?

    Amongst gemstones, tourmaline is available in the widest variety of colors. The Egyptians even told a tale that tourmaline passed over a rainbow on its journey to earth and called it the gemstone of the rainbow.

    There are even varieties of color in pink tourmaline itself. One of the most popular varieties is called “watermelon tourmaline.” Watermelon tourmaline is green on the outside, giving way to a slight white rind, and then a brilliant pink or red interior. When October’s birthstone displays three colors, as it does with watermelon tourmaline, it’s known as multicolored tourmaline. If it displays only two colors, then it’s known as bicolored tourmaline.

    tourmaline gemstonesBecause tourmaline gemstones come in every color under the sun, special names have been invented to distinguish them. For example, blue tourmaline is known as indigolite and green tourmaline is known as verdelite, so when shopping for your October Birthstone, keep in mind that pink tourmaline also has another name: rubellite. (For jewelers and gemstone enthusiasts, a true rubellite is a variety that does not change colors depending on the light source or viewing angle, but pink tourmaline might be sold as rubellite anyway.)

    Tourmaline is the official mineral of Maine. It’s quarried there and in a variety of other locations all around the world, so October’s birthstone is available in almost all price ranges. It can even be irradiated to give it a more intense color.

    Tourmaline ranges between 7-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale; that makes it ideal for birthstone jewelry, which must both be durable and wear well. (October’s other birthstone, opal, is not as hard as tourmaline, and can become brittle and break easily. Also, whereas pink tourmaline can be faceted for more traditional jewelry settings, opals are best polished and smooth.)

    Remember too that if transparent rubellite or multicolored watermelon tourmaline is not your style, you can even find October’s birthstone in a cat’s eye pattern. And if that’s not perfect for the month that celebrates Halloween, what is?

    Links:

    The Gemstone Tourmaline
    Watermelon Tourmaline