October is the month when leaves let go of their bright green and dress in shades of brown, red, and orange. In the jewelry world, however, October ushers in the bright and light colors of pink, blue and aquamarine. October is a lucky month when it comes to birthstones. Blessed with no less than six (!) options to choose from, those October babies have it made.
The first option, according to old Arabic traditions, is Aquamarine. The first stone in the banner to the right is a high clarity and very blue example of Aquamarine. Aquamarine is a variable stone with many different shades of green and blue. Depending on the ratio of the beryllium aluminum silicate compound, you can have milky stones or crystal clear stones. Regardless of its clarity, aquamarine is a hard stone, rating an 8 on the hardness scale. An 8 is a perfect choice for active people as the stone is unlikely to scratch. For reference, diamonds are a 10 on the hardness scale.
Pink Beryl, the second stone in the banner to the right, is the ancient Russian October birthstone. Beryl is a kind of a catch-all term for many stones e.g. aquamarine is a type of beryl. Beryl ranges from clear to reds like Morganite to orange to yellow to green. Emeralds are also in the beryl family. Once the beryl slides into the blues on the color spectrum it is referred to as – you guessed it – aquamarine.
In the Western world, Opal, a silica and water stone, is the traditional October birthstone. Opal is the third stone in the banner to the right and a great birthstone. Opals come in a variety of colors, clarities, and each stone has its own variable fire. Natural Opal fire is the reflection of light off of the stone’s internal fissures in the silica water matrix. Lab-grown opals are also made of silica and water and usually of great quality without the guilt of mining. In the past few years, the jewelry market has been awash with faux “fire opal gemstones.” Many of these brilliant colored blue, turquoise, or pink stones are resin composites made with two-part epoxy and glitter, make-up, mylar, nail polish, or acrylic paint. So be aware, they are not real stones, they are 2-part epoxy resin!
The modern Western October birthstone is a brilliant pink tourmaline. It is the fourth picture in the banner to the right. I grew up believing pink tourmaline was the only option for all the October babies! Luckily that is not the case. Pink Tourlamine is a boron/silicate compounded with other elements, but pink is just one of tourmaline’s many color options. Black tourmaline is called Schrol Tourmaline. It is a nearly opaque stone with lovely depth. Geologists identify the pink variety as Rubillite Tourlamine which occurs when the boron/silicate also contains aluminum and compounds with iron, magnesium, or other positively charged ions.
Precious Coral is a traditional ornament for those October babies of Hindu faith. Coral is not a stone, but the skeleton of a marine animal. It is the fifth item pictured in the banner to the right. Warming seas and overharvesting have reduced the population of Precious Coral worldwide. Antique jewelry items made of Precious Coral are still available in used markets as new production is, thankfully, diminishing. The Hindu, a newspaper in India recently reported the successful regrowth of “more than eight sq km” of coral reef in the Gulf of Mannar, the body of water that separates Sri Lanka from India. This article illustrates the ongoing efforts of the Indian and Sri Lankan population to care for and rehabilitate the reefs in their region. The idea of coral as ornamentation is becoming a thing of the past as environmental stewardship becomes a more important aspect of Hinduism and of many other faiths worldwide.
The last October birthstone on the list today comes from Tibetan tradition and it is the heart-shaped stone in the last banner picture on the right. Babies born in the Tibetian mountains in October might be gifted red jasper. The only opaque member of the chalcedony family, red jasper can be as light as salmon and as dark as rust. It gets a 7 on the hardness scale which is the same as quartz and is thought to mellow the emotional state. Hmm… do you know any dark and broody Scorpios who could use a little mellowing?
Have a great weekend, we’ll see you on Tuesday!