Happy Birthday, October! The October Birthstone is the Opal.

The Opal gets its name from the Latin word “opalus,” meaning “precious jewel,” and is prized for its unique ability to refract and reflect light into the shimmering rainbow of colors it is known for.

Ancient legend says that opals fell from the heavens in a flash of fiery lightning, but, in all actuality, opal is a non-crystallized silica, found near the surface of the earth in areas where geothermal hot springs once occurred. As these springs dried, the layers of silica, combined with water, were deposited into the bedrock?s cracks and cavities, forming opals.

Opal actually contains water (as much as 30%), so this gemstone needs to be treated carefully. Heat and harsh chemicals could lead to drying and cracking, and opal is relatively soft and can break more easily than other gems.

Most of the world’s opal is found in Southern Australia, but it can also be found in Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, and Nevada.

About Birthstone Traditions:

Traditionally, there is a birthstone associated with each month. This is believed to date back to the breastplate of Aaron, which is said to have contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

There are plenty of legends and myths about the healing powers of birthstones and their therapeutic use. The most common of these says that wearing a gemstone during its assigned month amplifies its healing powers, so, to maximize potential benefits, an individual would own all twelve birthstones, and would wear the appropriate stone each month.

Today, birthstones correlating to the month in which you were born are popular gift items to commemorate birthdays, milestones (like graduations), and other important occasions. “Mother” jewelry is also popular. These special keepsake items commonly include the birthstone of each family member.