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October Birthstone Jewelry: Opal and Tourmaline

Those born in October celebrate with not one, but two rainbows! The multitude of hues available for tourmalines and opals really burst with full force thanks to the natural white luster of platinum. Both gemstones require extra care (as many beautiful things do), so beyond pure color payoff, the protective strength of platinum means you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy opal and tourmaline platinum jewelry for legions of fabulous lifetimes.

The Opal: Dazzling with more colors than land and sea combined, opals are likely the only gems to have endured the adoring limelight and condemning shadow throughout their lengthy, fabled history. Comprised of silica and water (with some specimens boasting up to 21% of water by weight), opals belong to a small group of mineraloids due to their lack of crystalline structure. The size and microscopic arrangement of the hardened silica determine the color and quality, and therefore the value of an opal.

Platinum Jewelry Opal and Tourmaline Finds for October Birthdays - Opal Diamond Platinum Jewelry Ring - PlatinumJewelry.com
Dive amongst the cosmos in this black opal and diamond platinum ring from Vivid Diamonds & Jewelry. Diamonds are set in each side of the gallery for an extra sparkly surprise!

Reminiscent of faraway galaxies, opals’ mesmerizing display of colors have made them fierce favorites among jewelry designers and collectors; there are many within the jewelry trade who are such opal devotees that no other gem will suffice! It is said that opals carry the virtues of all other gemstones… perhaps this may be why they inspire such unwavering loyalty.

 

Platinum Jewelry Opal and Tourmaline Finds for October Birthdays - Opal Diamond Platinum Jewelry Pendant and Earrings - PlatinumJewelry.com
J.W. Currens won first place at the 2009 American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Spectrum Awards with this stunning 34.80-carat boulder opal pendant necklace set in hand-fabricated platinum, further suspended by a chain of briolette diamonds. • From the Stephen Russell Collection, these contemporary diamond halo earrings showcase intensely vivid black opals of the highest quality. Platinum jewelry anyone would be proud to own and wear!

Derived from the Sanskrit úpala, opals were almost universally considered gifts from the heavens. The Greeks believed they were the tears of Zeus shed after proclaiming victory over the Titans. Ancient Hindus, Orientals, and Arabian nomads thought opals to be symbols of hope—similarly fleeting and unexpected, yet essential as a rainbow after a rainstorm. Hailed as a talisman for the eyes, opals were used to treat ocular ailments, aid in peaceful dreaming, and grant prosperity in matters of the heart.

A glamorous black opal courtesy of Betteridge attracts all attention with its shockingly dynamic hues. The tender, petal-like effect of the ring’s platinum shoulders render the jewel at once delicate and dangerous.
A glamorous black opal courtesy of Betteridge attracts all attention with its shockingly dynamic hues. The tender, petal-like effect of the ring’s platinum shoulders render the jewel at once delicate and dangerous.

Then, in 1829, an eclipse: The most popular story of the time, Sir Walter Scott’s Anne of Geierstein, told of a resplendent opal with supernatural powers. Because the novel was introduced in installments, audiences incorrectly assumed before last volume was published that when a drop of holy water falls upon the otherworldly gem, the opal loses all trace of color and its wearer soon dies. By a truly desolate twist of fate brought on by hoards of careless reading, opal sales in Europe dropped by 50% and remained stagnant for several decades. To this day, there are some who still vilify opals and associate them with misfortune and death (although they are oddly unable to explain why)! Queen Victoria was paramount in reigniting opal fervor; soon after she ascended the throne, she became one of the leading collectors in fine opal jewelry.

 

Platinum Jewelry Opal and Tourmaline Finds for October Birthdays - Featherstone Opal Tourmaline Platinum Jewelry - PlatinumJewelry.com
Both by Featherstone, these platinum treasures elegantly sing the praises of October in its entirety! The Tourmaline Kite Earrings introduce a refreshing edge to the drop silhouette, and the Queensland Opal Pendant combines a boulder opal, tourmalines, sapphires, spinels, amethysts, and diamonds to magnificent effect.

The Tourmaline: Egyptian legend states that tourmaline traveled from the center of the Earth over a rainbow, adopting all the colors as it arced across the sky. Very fitting indeed that rainbows connect both of October’s birthstones!

Platinum Jewelry Opal and Tourmaline Finds for October Birthdays - Tourmaline Platinum Jewelry Ring Earrings - PlatinumJewelry.com
A 1.83-carat Paraiba tourmaline of the ice blue persuasion is coupled with platinum spectacularly set with 1.50 total carats of diamonds, via Boodles. • Electric teal tourmalines  provide marvelous (and highly desirable) pops of color in these unquestionably sparkly diamond-encrusted earrings from M.S. Rau Antiques.

Derived from the ancient Sinhalese turmali, the term was initially used to describe all colored crystals originating from Sri Lanka… as a result, tourmalines of the pink and red variety were once thought to be rubies.

Platinum Jewelry Opal and Tourmaline Finds for October Birthdays - Munsteiner Tourmaline Platinum Jewelry - PlatinumJewelry.com
Bernd Munsteiner—one third of the Munsteiner Studio—has distinguished himself as one of the industry’s leading lapidary artisans. Unlike other gem cutters, he approaches each gemstone with the mindset of a sculptor. With Tom and Jutta Munsteiner’s help, these breathtaking three-dimensional tourmalines are nothing short of platinum jewelry revolutions.

Before being recognized for their jewelry potential, tourmalines were a prized household gadget: 16th century Dutch traders dubbed them Aschentrekker or “ash puller,” because the crystals were used to clean smoking pipes! Tourmalines gain the unique ability to become magnetic upon being heated; this incredible characteristic, along with tourmaline’s molecular layout enabling an individual crystal to grow up to 12 feet (while displaying an endless array of colors) make for very powerful gem lore. Tourmalines are said to align all the energies of the body, promote peaceful sleep, enhance the sense of smell, strengthen communication skills, foster understanding and affection, and reduce physical suffering from falls, stress, or abuse.

Platinum Jewelry Opal and Tourmaline Finds for October Birthdays - Coffin and Trout Tourmaline Platinum Jewelry Rings - PlatinumJewelry.com
Here are three fantastic rings by Coffin & Trout that show a range of hue deviations. Expertly set in platinum, the pink tourmaline would be a wonderful engagement ring for a lady while the greenish tourmaline has handsome, male-suitable proportions. The tri-color miracle in the middle—accented with diamonds, more tourmalines, and pink sapphires—won 3rd place in the 2015 American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Awards Evening Wear Division (the latter two tourmaline rings belong and are displayed with special thanks to Somewhere In The Rainbow).

Add some storied iridescence to your platinum jewelry suite with hypnotic opals and spellbinding tourmalines for a thoroughly unforgettable October (and beyond)!

 

→ Birthstone jewelry is not just for its designated month: click here to celebrate the perennial favorite, sapphires and platinum jewelry!

 

Cover image features Featherstone Design.

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J.E. Obloy is a writer, philanthropist, and lifelong admirer of fine jewelry. Originally from Guam, she now lives in California. Check out her Instagram for more inspiring jewels!

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