The month of October is the beginning of the fall season when colors change and we start enjoying cooler weather. Opal, the October birthstone, perfectly represents this changing time. With its rainbow of iridescent hues, the opal birthstone's beautiful display of color is worth learning more about. Discover more about the birthstone of October, including its rich history, unique variations and the options for owning it.
What is the Birthstone for October?
People born in October get to enjoy the wonders of the opal birthstone! This gemstone is distinct, fascinating and a true treasure. Its colorful rainbow-like shine gives off a magical shimmer.
Occurring naturally in a variety of colors, opal comes alive as it is enhanced by the light. Believed to have healing and other special powers, the October birthstone colors add to the mystery of this unique and beautiful gemstone.
October Birthstone Stone Origin
The name opal originates from the languages of Sanskrit and Greek. It combines the Sanskrit word "upala," meaning "valuable stone" and the Greek word "opallus," meaning "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. Opal type is determined by color. 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. Like its name, this opal is black with vibrant colors throughout.
A standout feature of this unique gemstone is called play-of-color. When light interacts with the gemstone, this play-of-color phenomenon displays a spectrum of colors. With a look like no other gemstone, this makes the opal a stunning choice for rings and earrings in any metal tone.
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.
Fire opals, also known as the Mexican opal, can have play-of-color, but most of the time they don't. They are characterized by their body color. As their name suggests, fire opals are either brown, yellow, orange or red.
Finally, precious opals exude a flashy rainbow-like display. The most common colors found in an opal are yellow, blue and green. Violet, red and orange are the rarest colors found in an opal.
With such vibrant colors and various options, it's no surprise that the opal birthstone is valued throughout history. The Romans believed 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. It is also believed that the birth of the opal gemstone happened near God's feet when the stones came to life in sparkling colors.
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. Lab-created opals feature a the same properties as natural 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 some legends and superstitions. Many people consider the opal to be beneficial for the eyes. For this reason, some people wear it to ease symptoms of eye disease.
Others believed the opal could make someone invisible. How did that work? Well, it was suggested that 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. Believed to stimulate originality and creativity, the opal is said to curate thought and bring clarity. It is also said to aid depression and help find real true love.
To this day, some say that opal has healing powers. Some believe the opal gemstone can pick up the thoughts and feelings of people, as well as amplify emotions.
Opal Birthstone Care
Good care should be taken when storing your precious gem. On the Mohs scale of hardness, the opal ranges from a 5 to 6.5, making it a relatively soft stone. This means you'll have to be careful when wearing opal jewelry 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 the October 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, making it a radiant accessory for any wardrobe style. Explore our stunning opal jewelry for a timeless addition to your jewelry collection. Browse our beautiful October birthstone jewelry online or at a Zales store near you.