10. October Birthstone
The most expensive Tourmalines are the dark blue-green Indicolite, the light neon-blue copper loaded Paraiba and the manganese plentiful, pink Rubellite. Schorl, the iron rich, opaque, black tourmaline is the most abundant.
Opal is an alternate modern birthstone for this month. There are two distinct types of opal, common and precious. Opal is generally white or colorless but it can be blue, pink, green, black and the reddish orange Fire Opal.
Most opal was formed during pre-historic times when decomposing rocks mixed with ground water from geothermal hot springs forming a silica gel which collected and hardened in underground cavities and fissures as the springs dried up. In precious opal, the non-crystallized silica particles formed pockets containing spheres of equal size and structure. These organized pockets allow light to become diffracted as it hits the surface of the gem, creating iridescent flashes of color, or “fire” as it is sometimes called.
The more intense the “fire” is in an opal, the more valuable it is. Common opal lacks that “fire” because their spheres are irregular in size and inconsistent in concentration.
The name Opal evolved from the Sanskrit word “Upala” meaning “precious stone” to the the Roman word “Opalus.” Through history, Opals have made a strong impression on various cultures. The Arabs believed that Opals dropped from the heavens in a flash of fiery lightning. The early Greeks believed the Opal had the power of giving foresight and prophecy. The Romans believed that opals were the symbol of hope and purity. A gift of Opal is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence.
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