October Birthstone Color and Meaning: Opal and Tourmaline

October Birthstones: Opal and Tourmaline Gemstone Meaning
  • Month: October
  • Birthstones: Opal, Tourmaline
  • Color: Pink
  • Meanings: Balance, Restoration

Opal’s Meaning

Opal, one of October’s birthstones, derives from the Greek word opallios, which means to see a change of color. For decades, people have associated opal with evil and misfortune. Sir Walter Scott, an author from the 19th century, is credited with sullying this stone’s reputation. Anne of Geierstein, his claim to fame, is a novel that tells of Lady Hermoine’s demise. When a drop of holy water falls on her opal and destroys it, Lady Hermoine dies shortly after. This tale led many to believe that opals were indicative of bad luck.

Sir Walter Scott’s Legacy

Many revered Scott as a genius author, so they wouldn’t dare question his work. For 50 years, the opal market plateaued out. It only took a few months for Scott’s novel to impact the public. Once word spread, opal prices went down 50 percent due to a lack of demand. Fortunately, the stone began gaining popularity when a black opal was unearthed in Australia in 1877.

How Australia Turned Things Around

Miners discovered black opals while working in South Wales, and their findings proved wildly advantageous. Nations were in awe of this majestic gem. The stone became so sought-after that Australia ascended to the highest ranks of the opal market. Their success effectively ended Europe’s production. If not for Australia, opal would likely still be loathed by many. With that said, the Land Down Under brought opal back to life.

How Others Perceived These Myths

Before Australia dispelled these baseless superstitions, some prominent figures refused to wear opal. Empress Eugene, the wife of Napoleon III, is one such example. She believed that opals did more harm than good, and she didn’t want her future to hang in the balance. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria balked at these rumors. To demonstrate how silly misconceptions were, she gifted her daughter opals on her wedding day.

Other Outlandish Claims

During the medieval period, blond maidens wore opal jewelry to preserve their light hair color. They maintained that opals would prevent their hair from darkening or fading. If someone wanted to be invisible, they would wear opals around their neck. Not surprisingly, these efforts were in vain. Though these beliefs were rooted in insanity, they still spread like wildfire.

Ethiopian welo opal isolated on white background

Promotes Transformation

Those who yearned for personal development found comfort in opal. It was believed that this stone could uncover unknown traits and, in turn, allow people to reach their full potential. Opal was also used to enhance positive attributes, including confidence, honesty, and integrity. With opal, all things were possible.

Stimulates Creative Thinking

When in the presence of opal, creative juices begin flowing. Opal encourages originality, which is why creators are fond of it. If you work in the arts or have an interest in creative pursuits, welcoming opal into your life will do you good. According to some, opal brings novel ideas to the surface. With guidance from this inspiring gem, we can tap into our most artistic selves.

A Strong Proponent of Positivity

Opal subscribes to the notion that positivity is at the root of happiness. It’s for this reason why this stone is inherently optimistic. Opal urges us to send positive vibes into the universe. As a result, we’ll reap the benefits of living life with such a healthy outlook. Above all else, opal is a firm believer in karma. In other words, we get what we give. In the hopes of leading a fulfilling life, opal recommends placing positivity at the heart of what we do.

A Natural Protector

From infections to fevers, opal is said to prevent many ailments. Moreover, it purifies blood, which bodes well for optimal organ functions. It can even alleviate the pain that accompanies childbirth. Most notably, this powerful gem strengthens the immune system and regulates hormones. In essence, opal keeps bad things at bay.

Tourmaline: October’s Alternate Birthstone

First discovered in the 17th century, tourmaline stems from the word turamali, which is a Sinhalese term that’s used to describe colored crystals. When Dutch traders found this gem in Italy, tourmaline took the world by storm. Following the discovery of tourmaline, many drew parallels between this stone and ruby. It later came to light that many people owned tourmaline but had deemed it a ruby because of its red undertones.

Raw uncut tourmaline gems isolated on white background

Ancient Beliefs

Australia, India, and Africa all held specific beliefs about tourmaline. In India, tourmaline was used to provide insight and wisdom. Meanwhile, Australians wore tourmaline jewelry to protect against danger. Aboriginal groups in America maintained this same belief. Africans were taught that tourmaline could awaken them from “dreams of illusion.” In other words, bring them back to reality. One shared view was that tourmaline was the philosopher’s stone, which gave it the power to grant enlightenment.

Keeps the Digestive System in Order

Tourmaline is thought to keep the digestive system happy and regular. Those who struggle with stomach issues may find comfort in tourmaline. From stress to trauma, numerous factors can disrupt digestion. By eliminating these adverse effects, tourmaline improves the inner workings of the body.

Additional Benefits

Tourmaline is also advantageous to teeth and bones. In fact, it is said to strengthen both. Those who are prone to osteoporosis can benefit from tourmaline. If you have weak enamel, decaying teeth, or poor dental hygiene, tourmaline can work wonders. Holistic doctors have long turned to tourmaline to fortify bones and teeth.

A Sign of Empathy

Those who wear tourmaline are thought to be compassionate. Pink tourmaline, specifically, represents humanity. Therapists sometimes wear tourmaline to enhance their understanding. What’s more, if someone is attempting to express their sympathy, they might gift a tourmaline gem. Simply put, wearing or gifting tourmaline is an excellent way to foster healing and express empathy.

Reduces Negative Emotions

A pessimistic attitude can disappear in the face of tourmaline. Tourmaline wants us to love one another. When we adopt a negative mindset, we hinder our chances of spreading warmth and affection. Fortunately, tourmaline reminds us of the importance of letting go. When we bid farewell to self-destructive thoughts, feelings, and actions, we make way for wonderful opportunities.

Birthstones by Month

If you want to learn more about birthstone colors and their meanings, here’s an overview of birthstones by month.

Opal gem watercolor illustration