October Birthstones: Opal & Tourmaline
Tourmaline is one of the most popular gemstones and it is available in a multitude of beautiful colours.
The name comes from the Sinhalese term turmali, which means mixed stones, and was the name given to all coloured crystals on the island of Sri Lanka in the past.
This beautiful gemstone is mostly mined in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Mozambique, Madagascar, Namibia, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
However, this gemstone is also famous for its ability to display several colours in one. Multicolour tourmalines are very expensive, such as the Watermelon Tourmaline which features green, pink and white colour bands. Few gems have such a distinct character, making this stone extremely valuable.
In ancient times, gemstones were believed to have incredible powers such as prosperity, health, luck and more. Tourmalines are no exception.
According to Feng Shui, this stone is used for its energetic properties which help create a shield around a person or room to prevent negative energies from entering.
Tourmalines can even dissolve negative energy, transmuting them into more positive energy and beliefs. It is also the stone of reconciliation, compassion and radiates energy that attracts money, healing and friendship.
If you want to test the authenticity of your tourmaline, knowing some of its features can help you shop wisely.
Tourmalines are extremely hard gemstones and cannot be scratched easily. Thus, if a stone has scratches on it, it cannot be a tourmaline.
Secondly, if your stone looks crystal clear, it is probably fake.
Natural tourmalines also change colour when viewed under artificial light. For instance, most pink tourmaline stones will display a brownish undertone. If your stone does not display this undertone when exposed to artificial light, then you are likely looking at a fake gemstone.
Of equal beauty is the other October’s birthstone: the opal. Once known as the queen of gems because it encompassed the colours of all other gems, opals are as unique as our fingerprints.
In antiquity, it was considered to be the most captivating and mysterious of all gems for its virtues of strengthening the sight, healing eye diseases, and providing great luck.
The opal also represents justice and harmony, it is a protective stone and has always been associated with love and passion, acting as an emotional stabiliser.
The name opal is thought to be derived from the Sanskrit upala, meaning “precious stone” and later the Greek derivative opallios, meaning “to see a change of colour.”
Five of the main opal types are:
White or light opal, black opal, fire opal, boulder opal, crystal or water opal.
Black opal is considered to be the most precious, rare and highly valued stone, and has a black or dark body tone. It also comes in every colour of the rainbow.
About 95% of the world’s opals are mined in Australia. White opals are also found in Brazil. Fire and crystal opals are found in Mexico and the United States. And since 2008, Ethiopia has had a stable supply of mostly white and crystal opals.
Measuring an opal’s worth is not easy.
One must consider the type of opal, its brilliance, colour, pattern, thickness, body tone and more features to exactly determine its real value. Besides, the quality of the cut, the polish and the size are also important.
When determining the value of this gemstone, the price is given per carat.
One way to identify a fake opal is to turn the stone on its side and look for straight columns of colour running vertically: this clearly indicates a fake gemstone.
Secondly, look at the shape of the opal: even a polished natural piece will not be perfectly round or oval.
The most important thing before buying any gemstone is to educate yourself or ask the advice of a gemologist.
Here at Minar, we have a qualified gemologist on site for any queries you may have on gemstones. Therefore, don't hesitate to contact us!
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