Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Gemstones World - October

Written by Florence Neau of Athena Jewellery

Depending on the size, colour, cuts, treatments, location and availability, gemstones vary greatly in price but many of them are a lot more affordable than people think. More importantly, they are fascinating and we thought we could share some basic information and pictures with you, starting with birthstones.

In the UK, October is the month of the Opal. It is also a 14th anniversary gemstone.

Dentrite Opal
I’ve always thought Opals were all white-yellowish stones with this lovely Shimmering rainbow of colours (called opalescence), but as it turns out there are many different types of Opals, too many to describe here, but know that they are not all shimmering and come in a variety of colours and from all over the world. 

Often, the thinnest pieces of opals are glued to another stone such as Obsidian to prevent it from breaking. It is called opal doublets or opal triplets if the opal is sandwiched between two other stones.

Fire Opal
I learnt at my own expense that opals are very fragile and are prone to crack easily. I discovered after breaking a small bead that one of the main components of opals was water and therefore opals can literally dry out!

If you have the opportunity to acquire an opal, do not be afraid to keep it hydrated with some (cold) water by using a moist cloth, especially if it is part of a jewellery piece as you only want to wet the opal. Note that opals will not do too well if exposed to heat.

I did some research on the meaning of opals in terms of physical and spiritual benefits and the most recurring word is Creativity. It is meant to stimulate the imagination, a true crafter’s stone!
Health wise, Opal is believed to purify the blood and kidneys.

In USA and some other countries, Tourmaline is also accepted as an official October Gemstone.
The name tourmaline comes from the Singhalese word(s) tura mali or turmali, which translate to something like stones with mixed colours. I have seen different spellings of the word and different translations, but you get the gist.

 There are many colour variations found all over the world.  Each colour, the stone gets a different name. So for example a red tourmaline is known as Rubellite, a black tourmaline is known as a schorl etc.  So like me, you may have heard about Tourmaline under a different name.
Some tourmaline change colour depending on the light and some have 2 colours and are simply known as bicoloured tourmaline.

The type of tourmaline that seems the most in demand is the Paraiba tourmaline, a gemstone of an intense blue, which was not discovered until the 80’s in the Brazilian state of Paraiba. Prices vary but these are rare and quite expensive!

Tourmaline is a stone that can increase flexibility, happiness, hope, objectivity, compassion and serenity. It also enhances tolerance and understanding.
Health wise, tourmaline is known to have a detoxifying effect and helps relieving stress.
Ethopian Opal
Pink Opal

All photographs courtesy of Florence Neau, Athena Jewellery

Next Month: Topaz and Citrine

1 comment:

  1. I do love opals and have some lovely ones that have a lot of blue in them.