The History And Meaning Behind October’s Birthstones
A birthstone is a gem that is associated with a particular month. Each gem has its unique meaning and history, and a lot of people find an interesting link between their lives and what their gemstones say about them.
In the past, gemstones were always synonymous with good health, prosperity, and fortune. Now, we have different and complex interpretations and understanding of what our birthstones mean. Shira Diamonds focus this time on the history and meaning of October’s birthstone.
October’s Two Stones
Like several other months, two stones represent October, Tourmaline and Opal. They both have distinct looks but have a commonality: both represent a mix of colors or gems encompassing many colors. Gemologists usually identify them by their unique combinations, and these make them highly prized.
Experts speculate that this gem’s name originated from India, where locals called opals as upala or “precious stone.” The Romans later gave it the name opalus. Currently, Australia produces the most opals.
A town in Australia discovered the most expensive opal called the black opal. Ethiopia has also produced the most when it comes to the variety of gems. Mexico has helped in the discovery and production of the fire opal.
In history, people considered opal birthstone meaning as the queen of gems because of how they show different colors. Some civilizations believed it to embody all kinds of powers and virtues.
A high-quality opal is one capable of showcasing broad patterns in all colors of the rainbow. An opal always has a predominant color, but it will also have traces of the other colors underneath. Each one presents a unique color combination.
Tourmaline means “mixed stone,” and it literally is a stone of mixed colors. Many often mistake it for a pink gem because it is represented alongside opal for October’s birthstones. Like the opal, it has a variety of colors. Some of these include ocean blue, cranberry, bubblegum pink, and mint.
Due to its many colors, people often mistake the tourmaline for other stones. Some gems found by royalty were later discovered to be tourmaline. Gems that explorers took back to their homelands would later identify as tourmaline birthstone. It was only during the 1800s that this gem had a classification of its own.
Tourmaline is often found in Brazil though it is also mined in various parts of Africa. Trace amounts of copper are the cause of the intense colors found in this gem. Subterranean incursions of magma contribute to its production. Two children found one of the first significant deposits of tourmaline in 1820 at France’s Mount Mica.
Like opal, tourmaline is capable of displaying several colors at once. Unlike opal, tourmaline usually shows 2-3 dominant colors compared to opal’s rainbow. Due to the different combinations, an excellent multi-colored gem fetches high value.
Watermelon tourmaline is one of the most popular combinations. As the name denotes, it contains green, pink, and white color bands.
The Rarest Birthstone
The title of the rarest birthstone is one that is often in contention among experts. Some believe that the rarest gemstone would be the one that is rarely for sale. Others believe it to be the most flawless expensive gems that rarely see the public eye.
Price can be misleading. The value of gems usually comes with supply and demand. Even precious diamonds are in abundance in the market. For this title, we choose the gemstone that is the hardest to find.
Russians discovered alexandrite in the 1830s at the Ural Mountains. They are exceptionally rare and valuable. Other locations that produce the gem include Brazil, East Africa, and Sri Lanka.
Czar Alexander II is the gem’s namesake. He became the emperor of Russia in 1855, staying in power until his assassination in 1881.
Alexandrite is capable of changing colors, which is a rare characteristic. Gem aficionados often identify alexandrite as the “emerald by day, ruby by night.” Alexandrite changes its colors depending on the light around it. It can be green in sunlight but red in lamplight.
This gem is the stone birth of June, and due to its rarity, jewelers often cut it to save weight. High carat alexandrite sells for exorbitant amounts.
The Most Expensive Birthstones
When it comes to value, there is no simple answer for birthstones. While diamonds fetch a high price, there are also other sought-after gems. These gems, when found in the best quality, can command prices higher than diamonds. The quality can depend on the 4 Cs: Color, Clarity, Carat, and Cut. Here are the four most expensive birthstones:
- Diamond: since diamonds have become associated with engagements, it has been a gem of high value. The highest quality diamonds can sell for millions—some of the most influential people on Earth sport diamond jewelry.
- Ruby: while rubies are more common than diamonds, a high carat ruby is very rare. A three-carat ruby occurs less often than a diamond of the same size. If a high carat ruby shows excellent clarity and color, then it will be very expensive.
- Emerald: emeralds can grow to large sizes, so their carat isn’t much of a factor than rubies’. What is common about them are visible inclusions. An emerald with fewer inclusions means that it sparkles with color. These are rare, and as such, their value is high.
- Sapphire: sapphires are second in hardness next to diamonds and are also rare gems. They are desirable because of their royal blue color and luster. The closer a sapphire is to pure blue, the better. Those that show vivid saturation will fetch high prices. The most valuable colors include cornflower blue and orange-pink.
Gems come in all shapes and sizes. Their value varies with their beauty and rarity. The birthstones of October have been prized throughout history, matching with the likes of other gems. We hope that you learned a lot about the history and meaning of October’s birthstones.