A look at Birthstones: Opals and Tourmaline for October

Those born in October are lucky enough to have not one, but two of the most unique and beautiful birthstones of them all; the opal and the tourmaline. Opals are amorphous, which means that unlike most gemstones, it doesn’t have a crystal structure. It’s unpredictable in nature, and you never know what colour or shape it may take. Tourmaline, on the other hand, has a hexagonal crystal structure and appears to change colour in different light.

Here at Susannah Lovis, we have several beautiful opal and tourmaline ornaments that are steeped in history and intrigue, making for the perfect, thoughtful present for someone born in October. That said, anyone can enjoy and appreciate the beauty of both stones, so if it’s about time you treated yourself to something special, check out our website today.

Below you will find ten interesting facts about these remarkable stones to better help you understand the nature of such treasures:

  1. The largest known Tourmaline is roughly 192 carats and is valued at over $25 million. The “Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba” is a brilliant-cut oval shaped stone that is nearly 4x larger than the previous record holder that weighs in at 51.77 carats.
  1. The Martian meteorite “Nakhla”, now housed in the National History Museum, was found to contain microscopic traces of the mineral known as fire opal which, on earth, form around hydrothermal vents on the sea floor.
  1. In a laboratory, tourmaline can be electrically charged through a heating and cooling process; this causes one end to become positive and the other to become negative. The stone can then attract small particles such as ash or dust.
  1. It has been estimated that 95% of all of the opal in the world comes from Australia. According to popular theory, Australia was flooded with silica 20-30 million years ago which solidified in crevices and between boulders to form opal as we know it today. Mexico, Brazil and Ethiopia are other countries where opal is known to be mined.
  1. Tourmaline was highly desired by Far East royalty. Empress Dowager Tzu His was enamored with pink tourmaline and bought vast quantities. This was used in carvings and worn as brooches by the Imperial Court.
  1. Queen Victoria, whilst often seen with ruby, diamond and sapphire adornments, actually considered opal to be her favourite stone. As the Royal Court was the model for fashion around the world, opals become increasingly popular and highly sought after.
  1. Tourmaline is believed to increase self confidence and upsurge psychic energies; aiding in both communication and concentration. Tourmaline is also used in alternative medicine to boost vitality and vigour in both men and women due to a favourable influence of circulation.
  1. The lustre of opal stones is said to be eternal when worn by a faithful recipient. Celebrants of 34 years of marriage often gift opals to one another. It should therefore stand to reason that the stone should remain perfect forever.
  1. One of the earliest know reports of tourmaline dates back to Ancient Egypt. According to legend, this precious stone left the ground and travelled to the heavens along a rainbow, soaking up every colour before falling back to earth. Tourmaline comes in a staggering variety of colours, in fact this stone has one of the widest colour ranges of all gems.
  1. Though currently lost to time, the Burning of Troy opal was said to have been a gift from Napoleon Bonaparte I to his beloved Josephine. This stone allegedly weighed in at a colossal 700 carats though its provenance was never known; historians are only able to speculate on its existence through various written accounts. Experts have placed their best guess to its origins; agreeing that the stone would had to have originated in Honduras.

We hope you have enjoyed our brief foray into the history and science of Opals and Tourmalines and should you be lucky enough to be born in October please feel free to browse our website for our extensive collection of vintage and antique jewels. If one of our opal or tourmaline ornaments don’t take your fancy, there’s a range of beautiful brooches, earrings and dazzling stones that will!

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