Well aren't you October babies the lucky ones, with two fabulous birthstones to choose from. With both Opal and Tourmaline you are spoilt for choice as the latter is available in a wonderful array of rainbow colours.
In ancient times, the Opal was known as the Queen of Gems because it encompassed the colours of all other gems. Each Opal is truly one-of-a-kind; as unique as our fingerprints. Some prefer the calming flashes of blues and greens; others love the bright reds and yellows. With its rainbow of colours, as you turn and move the Opal the colour plays and shifts. It’s sometimes described as a rainbow captured in a stone. Australia’s Lightning Ridge is known for its rare and stunning black Opals which are the most valuable, but I prefer the white base which is a little softer but still with a gorgeous rainbow shimmer.
Opals have been valued for a long time and considered to have many interesting properties. In the middle ages it was though that wrapping an opal in a fresh bay leaf and holding it could make the bearer invisible (if you have any luck with this let me know!!)
Later they acquired a quite different reputation after Walter Scott published a novel featuring an opal, called Anne of Geierstein. The novel features an opal talisman with supernatural powers, but a drop of holy water falls on the stone, it turns colourless and it’s owner dies. After the novel was published in 1829 sales of opals dropped by half and didn’t recover for 20 years.
One of my personal favourites, tourmaline is classified as a semi precious stone. It comes from various parts of the world, but historically Sri Lanka provided most of the gems brought to Europe by the East India Company.
Possibly the most well known colour of tourmaline is a bright bottle green, as in this ring which is one of my best selling pieces. Bluer shades are slightly more expensive, and pink and reds even more so.
Tourmaline is also known for displaying several colours in one gemstone. These bi-colour or tri-colour gems are formed in many combinations and are highly prized. One multi-colour variety is known as Watermelon Tourmaline and features green, pink, and white colour bands. To resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink centre, white ring, and green edge.
Red tourmaline is sometimes known as rubellite, which can be misleading as it suggests it is some sort of ruby but it is a completely different stone.
As with all stones tourmalines vary in quality and can have natural inclusions. This affects the value of the stone.
Pink tourmaline is thought to help bring trust and love to wearer, whereas green tourmaline reinvigorates the heart.
Green tourmaline and Milky Opal are available as standard for most of my stone set designs, and other colours are available for special orders.