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Opal - The October Birthstone

Madhura Pandit
Opal, the multicolored precious stone, is the October birthstone. Opal is found in southern Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, and the US. It is popularly used as fashion jewelry. The colorful opal is considered to bring good luck as it contains virtues of all the colors present in its spectrum.
Precious stones are held in a high esteem for generations because of their beauty as well as protective powers. Specific gemstones assigned to each month of the year are known as the birthstones. This concept is prevalent since many centuries. Wearing jewelry containing birthstones is believed to bring good luck to the wearer.
There are mixed conceptions about the properties of opal all over the world. In some parts of the world, it is considered unlucky, while in others, it is a treasured precious stone.

Birthstone for October

Opal is also the anniversary gem of the 14th and 18th year of marriage. It is the birthstone of Libra, the seventh zodiac sign. It is found in a variety of colors like red, yellow, green, orange, blue, indigo, etc.
Opal is also found in transparent, white, and black variety. An opal flashes rainbow like colors when viewed in different angles.
The reddish opal having multicolored patches is called Harlequin opal. The lustrous ones reflecting light are the rare, precious ones, while the common ones have a milky appearance.
Opal has derived its name from the Latin word opalus, meaning precious stone. Another considered possibility is that the name is derived from the Sanskrit word upala, also meaning precious stone.
Opal is a form of non-crystallized silica. It is found in the places where hot water springs existed in the past. When these springs dried up, silica combined with water, forming opal stones. It contains 30% of water and is relatively soft. It reflects as well as refracts light.
As opal was known since olden times, there are many myths and legends associated with it. It was called 'Opthalmius', as it was believed to improve eyesight. A legend about the source of opal is that it directly fell on the Earth during lightning. In ancient India, an opal was rubbed across a person's brow to strengthen his memory.
Romans called opal cupid paederos, which means child as beautiful as love. In Greece, opal was believed to possess powers of prophecy. Therefore, opal was treasured by monarchs and rulers equally for its beauty as well as powers.

Significance of Opal

◾ Being the October birthstone, wearing opal is recommended usually to only those born in this month. It is believed to conduct energies of the planet Venus, the ruling planet of Libra. It is believed to strengthen eyesight. Innocence, purity, and hope are the significant meanings related with opal. It has protective powers to ward off evil and nightmares.
◾ It is believed that qualities like confidence, happiness, loyalty, and faithfulness are generated in the opal wearer. Opal radiates powerful positive energy and helps in dispelling fear. It also enhances dreams, insights, and imagination. It is well-known for its healing powers relating to eye problems.
There is also a superstition that opal proves unlucky for the person wearing it if it is not his birthstone.
Apart from opal, pink tourmaline is the alternate October birthstone. It is also a beautiful and distinctive gemstone. It is found in nearly all shades of pink and is believed to generate creative powers in the wearer.
Choosing jewelry can be a confusing as well as exciting task as opal gemstone is available in numerous colors. It must be protected against heat as it can crack. As it is a symbol of happiness, jewelry containing opal is a right gift for those born in October.