Opal is October's Birthstone
By Sam Serio
If you're still young enough to remember your birthday,
you probably also remember the special birthstone assigned to it. But at your age, we bet
you don't really know the SIGNIFICANCE of your birthstone and what power the ancients felt
would be bestowed about you by wearing it.
October's Birthstone: Opal
Birthstone Properties: Enhances insight and dispels fear
Alternative Birthstone: Tourmaline
Opal is the birthstone for October and the gemstone given
to commemorate a 14th wedding anniversary. The word "opal" for this dynamic
gemstone was derived from the Greek word "opallus" which means to see a change
because it is, after all, opal's abilty to refract and reflect specific
wavelengths of light that make it so special. In fact, there are more than a dozen
varieties of fiery and iridescent opals.
Opal is a non-crystallized silica, a mineral found near
the earth's surface in areas where ancient geothermal hot springs once existed. Romans
called the magnificent gemstone "Cupid Paederos," meaning a child as beautiful
as love. They believed that opals fell to earth from the heavens in a flash of lightening.
However they arrived in on Earth originally, today opals
must be mined from deposits found primarily in Southern Australia, although other sources
exist in Brazil, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, and Nevada.
Opal has symbolized hope, innocence and purity through the
ages. During the Middle Ages, fair-haired young women put sapphires in their tresses to
protect the lovely blond color of their hair. Physicians ground opals into a powder that
was ingested to ward off nightmares.
Since the 14th century, many cultures have considered this
stone to be an Eye Stone, a stone that watches over royal families as well as a stone that
strengthens the eyesight. They believed it to be the "king of gems" because an
opal holds within its fire all the colors of the rainbow
and all other gems, as well.
And like many birthstones, opals were treasured by ancient monarchs for their appearance
AND their powers.
Opals were routinely set into the crowns and necklaces of
rulers who believed the protective powers of the gemstones would ward off evil. Writers of
the period believed the opal could render its wearer invisible when the need arose.
The Russians had the complete opposite belief in opals,
viewing them as nothing but bad luck..
Always the Right Gift
A gift of Opal is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence.
And the wide range of choices in opal make them a perfect gift for anyone:
Black Opal - the stone has a dark body tone in comparison
to a white opal.
White Opal - also known as 'milky opal', featuring light
white body tones
Boulder Opal - very dark and beautiful in color
Crystal Opal - any opal with a transparent or
semi-transparent body tone. Forms of crystal opal include black crystal and white crystal.
Fire Opal - an American term meaning any opal that
displays a significant amount of red coloring. Mexican fire opal is a different kind of
opal, which displays orange coloring)