October: Month of Opal / Pink Tourmaline
The October birthstone, opal, symbolizes faithfulness and confidence. The word comes from the Latin opalus, meaning “precious jewel.” Necklaces with opals set in them were worn to repel evil and to protect eyesight.
History of opal
Opals were greatly valued by ancient monarchs for their protective powers. They were worn as jewelry and in crowns to ward off evil and to protect the wearer's eyesight. The opal was also ingested in a ground-up powder to protect against nightmares.
Science of opal
Opal, which is a "mineraloid" (lacking crystalline structure) has a chemistry of primarily SiO2 (quartz) and includes 5%–10% water. The presence of water in the mineral structure allows geologists to determine the temperature of the rock at the time the opal formed. The structure of opal consists of chains of silicon and oxygen formed within tiny spheres. These spheres are usually inconsistent in size and concentration. In precious opals (the variety used most often in jewelry), however, there are many organized pockets of spheres. The spheres diffract light at various wavelengths, creating beautiful, prismatic colors.
Follow these simple steps to keep your jewelry looking its best
- Always store jewelry separately; on a tube, in a box or in an anti-tarnish pouch (precious jewelry only).
- Always remove jewelry before swimming, bathing, doing household chores, or using abrasive cleaners. Remember, some household cleaners contain chlorine bleach; these will cause discoloration of gemstone jewelry.
- Apply beauty products such as perfume, hairspray or deodorant before wearing jewelry as certain chemicals can leave a residue on your jewelry that can harm or dull silver, gold and gemstones.
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