Think of the changing colors of fall and you have the diversity of October’s two unique birthstones, opals and tourmalines.

Opals, known for their rainbow quality, usually have a body color of black or white with a kaleidoscope pattern of colors. These gems were first discovered in Australia in the 1850s. Even today, the majority of opals come from Down Under, but additional opals are mined in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and even parts of the U.S., including Nevada and Idaho.

Opals are said to form when rain soaks into the parched earth and carries silica deposits to layers of rock. After the water evaporates, these silica deposits form opals.  The water content of opals can range from 3 percent to 21 percent, and are usually between 6 percent to 10 percent water in gems. Opals usually have a hardness of 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale, which means they are more delicate than other gemstones. They can crack under extreme temperature or under direct light, so it’s best to wear them carefully and store them when you’re not wearing them.

Opals have their own unique folk lore. For example, in Australia the aborigines believed that opals originated when the creator came to earth on a rainbow and left them behind. In modern times, wearing opals is considered good luck only for those born in October but bad luck for those who are not.

The world’s largest and most valuable opal, the “Olympic Australis” came from Coober Pedy, Australia in 1956. It weighs 17,000 carats (7.6 pounds) and was valued at $2.5 million in 2005.  A beautiful example of opals is when Australian movie star, Cate Blanchett, wore opal earrings to the 2014 Oscars.

Opals are a traditional gift for the 34th wedding anniversary. When shopping for opals for the color, pattern, clarity and cut of the gemstone.

October’s “sister” birthstone, the tourmaline, can come in a broad spectrum of colors. These colors include black, brown, blue, purple, red, green and even a colorless variety. Tourmalines are mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Mozambique, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S. (Maine and California). Tourmalines rate 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, which makes them durable and very wearable.

Tourmalines are said to become electrically charged through heat (pyro electricity) and through pressure (piezoelectricity). When charged, tourmaline can act as a magnet by oscillating, and by attracting or repelling particles of dust.

According to legend, ancient magicians used black tourmaline as a talisman to protect against negative energy and evil forces. They are thought to inspire creativity and were used as a talisman by artists and writers in ancient times, too. Tourmalines are also believed to strengthen the body and spirit, especially the nervous system, blood, and lymphatic system. The world’s most valuable tourmaline was mined in Brazil and weighed 191.87 carats.

In addition, tourmalines are a traditional gift for the 38th wedding anniversary. When shopping for tourmalines, use the four Cs as your guide: color, clarity, cut and carat.

Opal or tourmaline jewelry can be used as assets for collateral personal loans and jewelry loans with Pawngo. Getting started with us is as easy as visiting our website, filling out an application, and providing us information about your jewelry or other assets. To learn more about Pawngo visit https://pawngo.com/ or call 1-866-499-2363.

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