The October birthstones are tourmaline and opal. Tourmaline comes in a variety of colors like red, green, pink, blue, yellow, and more. The most prized and rare tourmaline is the red and green kind. Opal also comes in different colors and varieties. The most popular and valuable opal is the black opal found in Australia. Overall, some types of the October birthstones like the red tourmaline and black opal are quite rare and valuable.
What is the October Birthstone?
The October birthstone is tourmaline and opal. Tourmaline is a crystalline boron silicate mineral that comes in a wide range of colors. The most common tourmaline colors are:
- Pink tourmaline
- Green tourmaline
- Blue tourmaline
- Red tourmaline
- Yellow tourmaline
- Black tourmaline
- Multicolor tourmaline
Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica. It has water content ranging from 3% to 21% in precious opal. Opals come in many varieties based on their background color and pattern such as:
- Black opal
- White opal
- Fire opal
- Boulder opal
- Crystal opal
So in summary, the two official birthstones for October are tourmaline and opal. They come in many different color varieties, some of which are very rare and valuable.
History and Lore of October Birthstones
Some key facts about the history and lore of the October birthstones:
- Tourmaline was first discovered by Dutch traders off the West Coast of Italy in the late 1600s/early 1700s.
- The name “tourmaline” comes from the Sinhalese word “turmali” which means “mixed precious stones” in reference to its multicolor nature.
- Ancient people believed tourmaline had magical powers and could protect the wearer against disaster.
- Opals have been mined in Europe and Ethiopia since ancient Roman times, but Australian opals are the most famous and valuable today.
- Opals were called “ophthalmos” which means “eye stone” by the Greeks because it resembles the color play of an eye.
- During the 19th century, opals were more valuable than diamonds around the world.
- Opals have superstitions both positive and negative associated with them across different cultures.
So in summary, tourmaline and opal have been prized for centuries for their beauty and lore. The October birthstones have a rich history and significance across many cultures.
Where are October Birthstones Found?
Here are the major locations where the October birthstones are found in nature:
- Brazil – Minas Gerais produces the most colorful tourmaline in the world.
- United States – California and Maine are major tourmaline producers.
- Africa – Nigeria, Mozambique, Namibia, and Tanzania have significant tourmaline deposits.
- Afghanistan – Known for fine red rubellite tourmaline.
- Sri Lanka – Source of rare blue and green tourmaline.
- Australia – Produces 97% of the world’s opals, especially black opal.
- Ethiopia – Valuable opals found here since ancient times.
- Mexico – An important source of fire opal.
- Brazil – Minas Gerais produces rare crystal opal.
- Indonesia – Has opal deposits in Java and Bali.
In summary, while tourmaline is found across several continents, Australia is by far the dominant source for opals globally. The October birthstones originate from diverse locations around the world.
Types and Colors of Tourmaline
Here is an overview of the different types and colors of tourmaline gemstones:
|Rubellite||Pink to red tourmaline||Purplish red to deep red||Rare|
|Indicolite||Blue tourmaline||Vivid blue||Rare|
|Verdelite||Green tourmaline||Bluish green to yellowish green||Common|
|Achroite||Colorless tourmaline||Colorless, watery||Uncommon|
|Paraiba||Neon blue-green tourmaline||Vivid blueish green||Extremely rare|
As seen, some varieties like red rubellite and neon blue paraiba tourmaline are highly coveted and very rare. Green and pink tourmalines are more commonly available. Blue tourmaline is also rare and valuable.
Types and Colors of Opal
Here are the major types of opal and their color characteristics:
|Black opal||Dark body tone||Black to gray||Rare|
|White opal||Light body tone||White to pale||Common|
|Fire opal||Translucent opal||Orangish red to yellow||Uncommon|
|Boulder opal||Opal within ironstone||Multicolor||Uncommon|
|Crystal opal||Transparent opal||Clear white base||Rare|
Black opals with vibrant color plays are the most prized. White opal is relatively common while crystal and boulder opal are less common. Fire opal is also fairly rare.
What Makes October Birthstones Rare?
There are a few key factors that make certain varieties of the October birthstones rare and valuable:
- Limited supply – Tourmalines like rubellite and indicolite are rare in nature. Black opals only come from limited mines in Australia.
- Desirable colors – The bright red of rubellites and neon blue-greens of paraiba tourmalines are highly desirable. Black opal has a popular dark backdrop.
- Good clarity – Clean, flawless stones are always rarer and costlier. Black opals with crisp color plays are more valuable.
- Skillful cutting – Precise cutting is needed to maximize the play of colors in opals. Well-cut gemstones are scarcer.
Exceptional color, clarity, cut, and carat weight in a scarce tourmaline or black opal results in an extremely rare and expensive gem. These factors make fine quality October birthstones rare.
Value and Price of October Birthstones
Here is an overview of the value and price range of different October birthstones:
|Gemstone||Price Range per Carat|
|Rubellite tourmaline||$500 – $6000|
|Paraiba tourmaline||$2000 – $6000|
|Indicolite tourmaline||$500 – $2000|
|Green tourmaline||$50 – $500|
|Black opal||$1000 – $5000|
|Crystal opal||$50 – $500|
|White opal||$5 – $100|
|Fire opal||$50 – $500|
As seen, rare tourmalines and black opals can be extremely valuable, with prices in the thousands per carat. More common opals and tourmalines are affordable for jewelry use. Top quality October birthstones can be precious investments.
Are October Birthstones Ethical?
October birthstones like tourmaline and opal can be considered ethical and conflict-free if sourced properly. Here are some points to ensure your birthstones are ethical:
- Purchase tourmaline and opal from reputable and responsible jewelers.
- Look for supplier codes of ethics and responsible sourcing certifications.
- Avoid extremely low prices that may indicate exploitative mining.
- Buy birthstones that are certified conflict-free.
- Support fair trade gemstones and local artisanal miners.
- Recycled vintage and antique opal/tourmaline jewelry is an ethical option.
Conscious consumers should research the source of October birthstone jewelry. With due diligence, tourmaline and opal can be ethical and socially responsible gemstone choices to celebrate a October birthday.
How to Care for October Birthstones
Here are some tips to care for and maintain jewelry with October birthstones:
- Cleaning – Use warm water, mild soap and soft brush. Ultrasonic cleaning is safe too. Avoid steam cleaners and heat.
- Storage – Keep tourmaline and opal jewelry in soft cloth pouches separate from other gems.
- Prevention of scratches – Take off opal and tourmaline jewelry before physical activities. Store carefully.
- Avoid chemicals – Do not expose opal and tourmaline to household chemicals, cosmetics or acids.
- Special care for opal – Keep opal hydrated with mineral oil if cracking appears. Store opal carefully.
With proper care, the October birthstones can remain beautiful heirlooms to pass on. Consult a professional jeweler for special cleaning or repairs of valuable tourmaline and opal jewelry when required.
In summary, the October birthstones tourmaline and opal contain some very rare and valuable gemstone varieties. Red rubellite tourmaline, paraiba tourmaline, and black opal are exceptionally precious due to their scarcity and desirable traits. These October birthstones display a prismatic play of colors. With responsible sourcing and proper care, tourmaline and opal jewelry makes a meaningful and beautiful birthday gift for October-born personalities.