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October Birthstone: Opal or Tourmaline
With "the fire of the carbuncle, the brilliant purple of the amethyst and the sea green color of the emerald, all shining together in incredible union" opal clearly impressed Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), Roman historian and author of the world's first encyclopedia. The Romans had been wearing opals for centuries and considered them a symbol of hope or purity, while for the early Greeks they embodied the powers of foresight or prophecy. The more fancifully minded Arabs thought that opals must have fallen from heaven in flashes of lightning thus achieving their unique play of color or "opalescence".

As it is found in all spectrums of color, tourmaline is often described as the "chameleon gemstone". It is not surprising to find a fine tourmaline that mirrors the exact semblance of other gemstones, such as emerald, ruby and sapphire. Some tourmaline crystals may even appear as crystallized rainbows with several bands of color, ranging from the most brilliant red to the deepest blue. Many refer to tourmaline as the "muses' stone", for they are meant to provide inspiration.

(This article written by Mike McGinnis and published originally on indiasilver.com. We encourage republication but stipulate the piece be copied in its entirety with links and attribution.)

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