October is one of two months that boasts two birthstones, and opal and tourmaline are both stunning and unique gems. These two stones cover the entire rainbow, and both are rich with interesting history.
All About Tourmaline
Tourmaline is a beautiful stone that comes in a huge range of colors, which are the result of trace minerals found in different amounts. Tourmaline can be purchased in shades of black, brown, red and purple, as well as clear or multi-tonal varieties. Ancient legends indicate that tourmaline is available in so many colors because the stone fell down a rainbow and picked up every color on the way down!
This birthstone measures a 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, so it’s suitable for a broad range of jewelry without worry over scratching or damage. Currently, the most common sites where this stone is harvested include Pakistan, Madagascar Brazil, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the United States. The unique stone can also be electrically charged through the application of pressure or heat. Whenever tourmaline is charged, it can work as a magnet to attract or repel particles. This is why tourmaline is often used in certain types of electronics.
All About Opal
Opal is a beautiful and delicate stone created from many small silica spheres that reflect light to create a very distinctive look. Opals with small silica pieces are known as precious opals, and those without them are known as common opals. Over 95% of opals hail from Australia, where the rain soaks silica-rich soil and carries it down deep beneath the ground. When the water evaporates later, silica combines between layers of rock to become opal.
While opal no longer carries a bad association alongside it, a book written by Sir Walter Scott in the 1820s featured an opal that brought terrible misfortune to the wearer. After that story was published, the sales of opals in Europe fell a massive 50%! In ancient times, opals were also often thought to be unlucky due to their delicate and breakable nature. The times have changed now, and today opals can signify great fortune and good luck.
Find Out the Value of Your Tourmaline or Opal
Whether you have a family jewelry piece you are interested in learning the value of or you’re looking to expand your collection, SAZ Gem & Jewelry Appraisal is here to help. For more information, give us a call at 425-785-1871.