Ever wondered what the birthstone for October is? Well October babies are lucky enough to get two; tourmaline and opal. But today we’re focusing on the most popular October birthstone, the beautiful and utterly unique opal. We delve a little deeper into the history and meaning behind the unusual coloured gemstone.
Opal is one of the most unique and beautifully coloured gemstones out there. Deriving from the Greek word ‘Opallos’ meaning "to see a change (of colour)", the unusual gemstone consists of hydrating silica which is typically semi-transparent and shows varying colours against either a pale or dark background. The unique October birthstone is renowned for its unusual display of flashing rainbow colours, referred to as ‘play-of-colour’.
There are two main classes of opal: precious opal displays play-of-colour and common opal does not. The colour play is caused by the diffraction of light through spheres, and unless all factors are perfect when the gem is formed, there will be no colour play.
October birthstone meaning has been debated and pondered throughout history. Due to its multi-coloured nature, for centuries cultures had conflicting theories on how it could show the colours of multiple gemstones. The Bedouins thought that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms, whilst the Romans believed it was the most precious and powerful gemstone of all.
For years, this October birthstone has been compared to volcanoes, galaxies and fireworks, and its meaning has commonly been linked to symbolism in faithfulness and confidence. It is seen as a protective stone, said to be particularly protective in dangerous places and help one to be "invisible" in situations where one doesn't want to be noticed.
In the Middle Ages, opal meaning was associated with giving good luck, and they believe it possessed all the virtues of each precious gemstone whose colour it represented. Whilst in Ancient Rome, opal meaning was considered to be a symbol of love and hope, and the stone was highly regarded as one of the most powerful and precious gemstones in the world.
From black opals to Australian opals, each variety of the October birthstone holds a different meaning. Pale, white opals are thought to increase competency and efficiency, whilst fire opal meaning is seen as an energy amplifier which helps facilitate change and support through times of emotional turmoil.