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October’s Amazing Birthstones – Opal and Tourmaline (and Pink Zircon?)

Opal: Opal is a special birthstone for Libras and people born in October. It's a unique, colorful gem that has fascinated many cultures for ages. Some stories say opals fell from the sky during lightning storms, others believed they came from Zeus' joyful tears, and Australian aborigines thought they were left by the Creator wherever his feet touched the ground..

In the past, opals were treasured by the Roman elite, and some even believed that all gems came from opals. During the Middle Ages, people thought opals had the powers of all the gemstone colors they displayed, bringing good luck to the owner. But in the 1830s, a fictional book linked opals to the heroine's death, causing the public to believe that opals were actually bad luck and their popularity drastically dropped. But, they made a comeback after their discovery in Australia around 1850.

Today, Australia produces most of the world's opals, but there are several other types like Fire Opals from Mexico, Boulder Opals from Colorado, and Ethiopian Opals, among others.Buyers should be aware than “Opaline” is man-made glass, not opal. Some opals types are rare and valuable, but they're also delicate. Opals are relatively soft on the Mohs Hardness Scale (5-6) and have a fairly high water content. Once mined, they begin to dry out and become vulnerable to fracture and cracking over time. Fine opals are often kept in water or oil until they're set in jewelry.

Tourmaline: Tourmaline, including Pink Tourmaline, is also associated with October and Libras. It comes in many colors, each with its own significance and history.

In Europe, tourmaline gained popularity in the 17th century when the Dutch East India Company brought it from Asia. But it has a history much longer than that. Black tourmaline, in particular, has a unique property—it can become electromagnetically charged. It was often used as a protective charm to ward off negative energies and is associated with Feng Shui for energetic protection during rituals.

Tourmaline is said to absorb harmful electromagnetic waves from electronic devices, making it valuable in our tech-filled lives. It comes in various colors, with red and blue being quite rare. In fact, red and green Tourmaline have been mistaken for rubies and emeralds due to their rich hues. Tourmaline is tough, measuring 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, making it resistant to scratches and durable for jewelry.

Pink Zircon: In more modern times, October babies have started finding Pink Zircon on their birthstone lists. It should be noted that Pink or Rose Zircon is a natural gemstone, but extremely rare. While we should not confuse Pink Zircon with cubic zirconia (a fake gemstone), it is likely that the majority of Pink Zircon being sold today are also man-made.

In summary, if you love opals, consider smaller ones in a protective setting to reduce the risk of fractures, and don't wear them every day. Tourmaline is a durable and vibrant October/Libra alternative, with black tourmaline being a great choice for daily wear. And finally, if you are drawn to pink stones, pink tourmaline might be a safer, and yet beautiful, alternative to pink zircon.

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