October Birthstone – The Opulent Opal

The month of October is the beginning of the fall season. The colours are changing, the weather gets cooler and it's time to break out those comfy sweaters. It’s appropriate then that the birthstone for October beautifully represents the changing seasons. The luminous October birthstone is known for radiating 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 is the Birthstone for October?

Opal is the traditional birthstone for those born in October. The opal seems to magically radiate a rainbow of iridescent hues. 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 colours, but the October birthstone showcases rainbow colours and variations throughout. Because it is everchanging, the opal is thought to bring magical powers, including helping someone become invisible.


The Origins of the Opal Gemstone

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 colour."

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 natural opals come from the land down under.


Variations and History of the Opal Birthstone

The opal birthstone colour includes many different and distinct variations, including white, pale yellow, pale red, gray, brown and black. The colour of the opal determines which type of opal it is. The most popular type of opal gemstone is a light or white opal colour with a white or gray background. The rarest and most valued opal is the precious black opal. This opal is black but also radiates vibrant colours 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 colours and are often fluorescent.

The opal birthstone features a unique gemstone characteristic called play-of-colour. In most all opals, you will see a great variety of colour or hints of colour. This unique colour play characteristic makes the opal a stunning choice for rings and earrings in any metal tone. Most opals are treated in some way, usually with sugar treatment or oil or smoke impregnation to enhance their play of colour.

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

With such vibrant colours and with various options, it's no surprise that the opal birthstone is treasured throughout history. The Romans valued the opal, believing it was the most precious and powerful gemstone because it contained the colours 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 colours. They believed this was the birth of the opal gemstone.


October Birthstone Meaning

The opal is associated with other legends and superstitions. Many people consider the opal to be beneficial for the eyes and wore the opal to cure any eye disease. Others believed wearing an opal could make someone invisible. How did that work? Well, it was thought 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. Stimulating originality and creativity, the opal is said to curate thought and bring clarity of mind. It is also said to cure depression and help find true, real and lasting love.

To this day, many believe the opal has healing powers. Some believe the opal gemstone can pick up the thoughts and feelings of people, as well as amplify emotions.


Natural vs. Man-Made Opals

A genuine opal is extremely rare, and that means it can also be very expensive. Many of the opals carried at Peoples Jewellers Zales are lab-created. In most cases, man-made opals are created using 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.


Care of Your Opal Birthstone

The opal is one of the softest and most fragile of all the gemstones. 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 jewellery, keep it in a separate bag away from other gemstones.


Shop the October Birthstone

Being October's birthstone, opal is a beautiful gift choice for those born in this month. This gemstone looks absolutely stunning in an earring set, bracelet or even in a sweet promise ring. Natural lighting really allows the opal to shine in all its rainbow of colours, however opal looks gorgeous under any light. Because of its look, the opal birthstone looks radiant accompanied by any wardrobe style and colour.

Visit your local Peoples Jewellers retail store to find exceptional October birthstone jewellery and opal gemstone jewellery. You can count on Peoples to have both classic and contemporary opal jewellery that celebrates life, love and that special October birthday.