October Birthstone Story

The month of October is the beginning of the fall season when colors change and we start enjoying cooler weather. The birthstone for October is a great representation of the changing seasons. The beautiful October birthstone radiates a rainbow of iridescent hues. Learn more about the October stone, including its rich history, unique variations and the options for owning your own.

What's the October Birthstone?

October is the opal birthstone month. A rainbow of iridescent hues radiates from the luminous opal. The opal birthstone is colorful like the rainbow and shimmery like magic. This gemstone is distinct, fascinating and a true treasure. If you were born in October, you're lucky, because this is your birthstone. The opal comes in various colors, but the October birthstone is the opal with rainbow colors and variations throughout. The opal is said to bring magical powers, including helping someone become invisible.

The October Stone Origin

The opal's name originates from two places. It comes from the Sanskrit word "upala," which means "valuable stone" and the Greek word "opallus" which means "to see a change in color." Unlike other gemstones, each opal is unique – no two are the same. With its general properties, the opal appears very different from the other birthstones and is in a class of its own. The opal is the national gemstone of Australia which makes sense because roughly 97% of all opals come from down under.

Opal Birthstone Variations

The opal birthstone color comes in many variations, including white, pale yellow, pale red, gray, brown and black. The color of the opal helps determine which type of opal it is. The most popular type of opal gemstone is a light or white opal color with a white or gray background. The rarest and most valued opal is actually the precious black opal. This opal is black with vibrant colors throughout.

While each opal is as unique as a fingerprint, there are three main types of opal: common opals, fire opals and precious opals. Common opals are usually opaque which means that they do not allow light to pass through. They are found in many colors and are often fluorescent.

The opal birthstone features a unique gemstone characteristic called play-of-color. In most all opals, you will see a great variety of color or hints of color. This unique characteristic makes the opal a stunning choice for rings and earrings in any metal tone.

When you look at a precious opal, it exudes an array of different rainbow colors. The most common rainbow colors found in an opal are yellow, blue and green. Violet, red and orange are the rarest colors found in an opal. Fire opals have play-of-color, but most of the time they don't. They are characterized by their body color, and as their name suggests, fire opals are either brown, yellow, orange or red. The fire opal is also known as the Mexican opal.

Opal History

With such vibrant colors and various options, it's no surprise that the opal birthstone is valued throughout history. The Romans valued the opal, believing it was the most precious and powerful gemstone because it contained the colors of other gemstones. Old Australian legend says the Creator came from the heavens on a rainbow and brought a message of peace for all living things. Legend says the stones were near God's feet when the stones came to life in sparkling colors. They believed this was the birth of the opal gemstone.

Natural vs. Man-Made Opals

A genuine opal is extremely rare, and that means it can be very expensive. Many of the opals from Zales and other jewelry companies are lab-created. In most cases, simulated opals are created using many of the same properties as real opals. Lab-created opals are stronger than natural opals and are often brighter and smoother. A man-made opal is still considered to be a valuable and beautiful gemstone treasure.

October Birthstone Meaning

The opal is associated with a few other legends and superstitions. Many people consider the opal to be beneficial for the eyes. For this reason, some people wore it to cure any eye disease. Others believe the opal could make someone invisible. How did that work? Well, legend says carrying an opal wrapped in a fresh bay leaf would keep others from seeing you.

Besides the potential to make someone invisible, the opal birthstone has many beautiful representations associated with it. Stimulating originality and creativity, the opal is said to curate thought and bring clarity. It is also said to cure depression and help find true and real love.

To this day, some say that opal has healing powers. With opal's tiny spheres, precious opals allow light to go through and it absorbs the light. Some believe the opal gemstone can pick up the thoughts and feelings of people, as well as amplify emotions.

Opal Birthstone Care

The opal can be a very sensitive gemstone. On the Mohs scale of hardness, the opal ranges from a 5 to 6.5. This means the opal requires special care when wearing so you don't scratch and break the stone. High heat or intense light can cause the opal gemstone to crack and break.

You should not wear an opal gemstone in the shower or while doing cleaning around the house. The best way to clean an opal gemstone is with warm, soapy water. When storing your opal jewelry, keep it in a separate bag away from other gemstones.

Shop the Opal Birthstone

Being October's birthstone, opal is a beautiful gift choice for those born in this month. This gemstone looks absolutely stunning as an earring set, bracelet or even in a sweet promise ring. Natural lighting really allows the opal to shine and sparkle all the colors of the rainbow, although opal looks gorgeous under any light. Because of its look, the opal birthstone looks radiant accompanied by any wardrobe style and color. Explore beautiful opal jewelry for a timeless addition to your jewelry collection at Zales.