Freedman Jewelers Blog

October Birthstone: Opal & Pink Tourmaline

by Josh on October 5, 2011

Pink Tourmaline necklace

Born in October?  You have options!

There are two birthstones for October, the Pink Tourmaline and the Opal.

(Pictured on the right, a 3.60ct Pink Tourmaline emerald cut stone surrounded by diamonds. For more information about this piece: click here )

Pink Tourmaline

Pink Tourmaline is a crystal boron silicate mineral and classified as a semi-precious gemstone. Tourmaline is compounded of elements such as aluminum, iron and magnesium.  Tourmaline comes in many different colors, most notably, red, green, blue & pink.  Tourmaline is most commonly found in deposits around Brazil, Sri Lanka and Southwest Africa.  The name Tourmaline comes from a Sri Lankan word turamali which loosely translates to mixed to describe the assortment of tourmaline’s colors.

They are a 7 on the Mohs Hardness scale and are rated fair to good for everyday use.

Opal:

opal stone

Opal is a form of silica ( a cousin to quartz).  Opals are like a rainbow and can take on many colors.  The opal’s internal structure allows for it to diffract light which leads to the opal’s variety of colors.  Opals have fiery colors that present a unique glow unlike any other gem.  The most common opal colors are the combination of white and green colors.  Black & red opal combinations are very rare.      The opal is not the strongest gemstone, they range from a 5  – 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.  Opals are usually cut in a round shape or a cabochon shaped (flat on top)  They can break fairly easily so one must be careful when wearing them.

Opals can be found all over the world but are most common in Australia (their national gemstone).  They are also common in the Western United States and Mexico.

Fun Fact: The world’s largest opal was found in the town of Coober Pedy in South Australia in 1956.  It weighs 17,000 carats (3,450 grams) and is 11 inches long.  It is valued at AUD $2.5 million.

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