The Folklore of Tourmaline

Tourmaline gemstones are found in an incredible range of colors. An Egyptian legend explains this variety by saying the gemstone traveled along a rainbow, gathering the diverse array of colors as it went.

red and pink tourmaline gemstones

One legend relates tourmaline to the world’s ancient knowledge. Magicians living in the Andes mountains used tourmaline to create magical staffs to access this resource.

Ancient Indian ceremonies used tourmaline for enlightenment and help in seeking good. Inversely, they felt it could also bring insight as to what was causing trouble.

In the 18th Century, a Dutch scientist believed that wrapping a tourmaline gemstone in silk and placing it on the cheek of a child with a fever would help them fall asleep.

Many people have believed folklore around tourmaline gemstones having the ability to cure depression, strengthen the body and spirit, improve relationships, and increase intuition and creativity. In fact, it’s association with creativity meant it was often used by writers, artists, and actors.

Folklore also suggests that tourmaline could help improve self-awareness, self-confidence, psychic energies, communication, and the ability to relax. It is also believed that the gemstone can counteract fear, grief, and negative energies.

If you’re looking for tourmaline jewelry to celebrate an October birthday or an eighth wedding anniversary, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.

NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend, and historical lore of tourmaline and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.

The Folklore of Opal

The folklore around opal gemstones has changed over the centuries. It has long been associated with hope, happiness, innocence, and luck.

Silver ring with opal mineral gemstone on pearl background

According to Arabic legend, opals fell from the sky in bolts of lightning. Greek mythology stated that opals originated from Zeus’ joyful tears after winning the battle against the Titans. Meanwhile, Australian aborigines believed that the Creator came to Earth on a rainbow, leaving these colorful stones where his feet touched the ground.

Aztecs named fire opal after Quetzalcoatl, their feathered-serpent diety. They believed the “Stone of the Bird of Paradise” could foster creativity and beginnings. They felt it could also bring about necessary destruction.

People in the Middle Ages work opal gemstones to bring them luck. They believed that the color-changing opal possessed the powers of each gemstone whose color appeared in its sheen.

However, that perception changed with the 1829 publication of Sir Walter Scott’s book, “Anne of Geierstein.” The story featured an enchanted princess who wore an opal that changed colors with her moods. But when a few drops of holy water extinguished the stone’s magic fire, the woman soon died. People began associating opals with bad luck. Within a year after publication of Scott’s book, opal sales in Europe fell by 50 percent.

Other stories of bad luck were told through the years. For example, Spain’s King Alfonso XII was gifted an opal ring for his wedding. After giving it to his wife, she died. The ring was then given to his grandmother, siter, and sister-in-law, each of them also dying when in possession of the ring. King Alfonso was the last to wear the opal, dying shortly after. These deaths could have been attributed to the cholera epidemic at the time, but the legend of the cursed opal persists.

When opal deposits were discovered in Australia after 1850, the gemstone’s perception changed yet again. The country started to produce 95 percent of the world’s opal supply and many of the most beautiful specimens. People once again clamored to wear opal jewelry.

If you’re looking for opal jewelry to celebrate an October birthday or 14th wedding anniversary, find an American Gem Society jeweler near you.

NOTE: The above is intended to educate on the myth, legend, and historical lore of opal and is not meant to be interpreted as fact.

Color Comes Into Play with October’s Birthstones

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Opal and tourmaline from Gem 2000.

When it comes to color choices, October’s birthstones give you some amazing choices. Whether you choose opal or tourmaline, you’ll get a display of exciting and intense colors, making them popular choices for jewelry designers and collectors.

Opal

The name “opal” derives from the Greek opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).” They range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.

Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces is created that gives opal its radiance.

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s precious opal comes from Australia. The following are other countries that produce precious or fancy varieties: Brazil, Mexico, United States, Hungary, Peru, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ethiopia.

Each opal is totally unique, like fingerprints!! To get a really good look at the opals in these designs, click on the images below for a larger view.

Tourmaline

Since tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. It is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; the gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.

Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

The following designs feature the varying hues of tourmaline. Click on the images to see a larger view.

 

If you are shopping for opal or tourmaline jewelry, click here to search for an American Gem Society (AGS) credentialed jeweler near you.

 

Jewelers Mutual Presents: Your Birthstone Guide

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There’s something about birthstones that creates fascination, whether the focus is on their history and lore, or the emotional connection an individual may have with their birth month’s gem(s). In fact, the most searched topic on the American Gem Society website is “birthstones.”

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group, in collaboration with the American Gem Society, has created a handy, go-to guide for birthstones. The guide features interesting facts about each birthstone and how to care for them. Click here to learn more!

If you’re looking for jewelry featuring your or a loved one’s birthstones, visit an AGS jeweler near you.

October’s Birthstones are Bursting with Color

octoberbirthstonesOctober features two incredible birthstones: opal and tourmaline. They each display an exciting and intense array of colors, making them popular choices for jewelry designers and collectors.

Opal

The name “opal” derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).” They range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. This October’s birthstone beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.

Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces is created that gives opal its radiance.

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s precious opal comes from Australia. The following are other countries that produce precious or fancy varieties: Brazil, Mexico, United States, Hungary, Peru, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ethiopia.

Like fingerprints, each opal is totally unique! To get a really good look at the opals in these designs, click on the images below for a larger view.

Lightning Ridge Collection

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Blue-green black opal accented by fine white princess cut diamonds and round brilliant cut diamonds.

Lika Behar Collection

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Sterling silver and 24k gold “Ocean” necklace, featuring a one-of-a-kind boulder opal framed by diamonds.

Parlé

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Australian black opal and diamond earrings set in 18k yellow gold.

Yael Designs

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An 18k rose gold bracelet featuring rose cut fire opals and brilliant cut white round diamonds.

Tourmaline

Since tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. It is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; the gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.

One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline and features green, pink, and white colors bands. To resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.

Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

The following designs feature the varying hues of this October birthstone. Click on the images to see a larger view.

Erica Courtney

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“Rain Drop” 18k yellow gold studs featuring
Paraíba tourmaline accented with diamonds.

Supreme Jewelry

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This unique ring displays a butterfly fluttering around petals of  sliced tourmaline, framed by diamonds.

Omi Privé

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A cushion cut pink tourmaline and diamonds are set in platinum and 18k rose gold.

Crevoshay

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“California Dreaming” is an 18k gold pendant artfully displaying the many colors and varieties of tourmaline.

On behalf of everyone at AGS, we send our best wishes to those celebrating a birthday or anniversary in the month of October!

If you are shopping for opal or tourmaline jewelry, search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you.