The concept of birthstones is age-old and wearing your birthstone is thought to bring good luck. Opal is a stone that refracts a Kaleidoscope of colours when slightly altered in the light. The October birthstone, opal is also commonly given as the 14th wedding anniversary gift. Opals have held mystery and fascination for centuries. As the stone is thought to bring luck and possess all the powers of all the gems which have their colour trapped inside the stone. The way the light plays within the stone when slightly altered could be a reason that this gemstone has been dubbed “The Stone of Sight”. As it is so pleasing to get lost in the storm of light that happens within it, opals have an almost ethereal appearance that can be magical to behold and has inspired writers to compare them to galaxies and fireworks.
Opal is most commonly mined in Australia, but different types can be found all over the globe. There are many varieties of opal with some only being found in certain countries, for instance, the fire opal that comes from Mexico and boulder opal which is only found in Australia. Despite common thought being that opal is a stone with this play of colour within, there are many opals that lack this quality. However, precious opals have a very orderly structure which allows for this play of colour within the gem. It has been said that this gorgeous gemstone is formed from rain. This stone is made by rainwater picking up silica from sandstone and depositing it when evaporated, the repetition of the cycle then builds up the silica to form opal. Opals contain water which is interesting considering they are formed in the driest of environments by the evaporation of water. Because of the high water content in the stone, it is recommended not to leave this stone near a radiator as drying out can cause it to crack.
This stone is also known as the “Queen of Gems” which was once even dubbed by William Shakespeare. This gemstone is also thought to have the power to inspire and help with creativity. Moreover, it is also believed to be able to help the wearer with communication, be it with other people or spiritually. The ancient Romans believed this to be a symbol of love and hope, they were also the ones who named the stone “opalus” which meant precious stone. Opal is an emotional stone which is said to be able to amplify emotions and thoughts and encourage you to express yourself. A karmic stone that can bring awareness to the power of the energy that you put out into the universe and it’s way back to you.
The largest opal in the world was found in 1965 in Coober Pedy – Australia and weighs 17,000 carats, it was named the Olympic Australis after the Olympics which were being held in Australia the year it was discovered. Another famously large opal was gifted to Queen Elizabeth II upon her first official visit to Australia. Around 90% of precious opals in the world come from Australia, with the discovery of black opals only occurring in 1902. Boulder opals are the rarest of all opals and since discovery have only ever been found in one place in the world- Queensland, Australia. Since opals are found in some of the harshest desserts, in some areas of the world the people who mine these precious gems have even taken to living underground to avoid the harsh summer heat.
Alternative Birthstone: Tourmaline
Tourmaline is the alternate birthstone for the month of October. It can come in a rainbow of colours which is why it is loved by a variety of people. The name of this gemstone comes from the Sinhalese word “toromalli” which means mixed gems. This stone has been thought to be able to aid in the understanding of yourself and others, with the ability to promote one’s confidence. This is a stone of enlightenment that can also have a calming effect on you and help you to maintain perspective. If you feel opal isn’t the birthstone for you and you would prefer another colour, we recommend giving Tourmaline a look.
No matter what your birth month is if you have an affinity for any of the gemstones they are all beautiful in their own way and we recommend taking a look at them all.