October Birthstones: Opal & Tourmaline

Did you know…

Tourmaline Gem Cheat Sheet from GIA

Opals have been attributed with many magical powers. Over the ages it was believed they could grant you invisibility, ease the pain of childbirth, and even keep blonde hair from turning gray.

Tourmalines come in the widest color range of any gemstone.

95% of opals come from Australia.

Opals are fragile gems, composed mostly of silica and water.

Tourmalines are piezo-electric (pronounced “pie-ee-zoh”) meaning they carry an electric charge when pressurized.

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Opals are strongly associated with heirloom jewelry because of their huge popularity in the 19th century. The most widely seen are the white, black (actually vivid blue), and fire opals. In jewelry, they may be polished gems or cross-sections that are covered by a clear cap. These opals are known as doublets or triplets. Folklore says that lightning flashes are crystallized inside the stones, and the finest opals will display fiery flashes of vivid color.

Tourmalines come from South America in regions famous for the finest emeralds and topaz. Many fine examples come from a small deposit in Maine, where they are locally cut & set by artisans. Pink tourmaline is most popular as the faceted birthstone for October, but the huge color range makes an almost limitless choice. They are greatly prized for vivid shades of green, blue, and teal. The crystals sometimes form in long rods, often multi-colored, with striking results such as the so-called “watermelon” variety.

QUICK TIPS:

If you have tourmaline or opal jewelry, it needs to be cleaned gently – gentle soap and water will do. Opals are especially sensitive and should be protected from impact, chemicals, and extreme temperatures. Tourmalines are more durable but should not be subjected to ultrasonic cleaning. They are often a popular choice for engagement rings because of their stunning color array, but may be prone to scratching or chipping over time, so consider opting for a bezel or halo setting that gives added protection.

Faye’s offers custom design with the gemstone of your choice! We have access to precious gems from all over the world, in all colors, shapes, and sizes. We’re experts at jewelry building; just tell us what setting you would like, and we’ll find it or make it!

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