October's birthstone is considered one of the most desirable because it has two stones to choose from - opals which are famous for their "play on colours", and tourmaline known for its wide array of colours.
Through the ages, Monarchs have treasured opals, both for their beauty and their protective powers. Traditionally set into crowns and necklaces they were worn to repel evil and protect the eyesight. The opal has certainly had a reputation over the centuries from the time of The Black Death, when they mainly believed the gem to be the cause of death, thus losing its buying appeal. Then in the Elizabethan period it was deemed a treasured beauty, which was further expressed during Queen Victoria's reign when she gifted opal jewellery to her children, thus recreating an increase in popularity again. However, the stone continued to have a mixed reputation, no thanks to the novel Anne of Geuerstein - written by Sir Walter Scott in 1887 - who depicted the opal as an evil stone.
Tourmaline, the alternate birthstone for October, is a gemstone that displays a vast spectrum of colours and is often misidentified as ruby, emerald or sapphire.
Here at Grays you will find a wonderful display of opal and tourmaline pieces waiting to be discovered.
Edwardian 18ct gold, four stone opal & diamond ring. Available at The Antique Jewellery Company
|Edwardian 18ct gold, large opal & rose diamond cluster ring. Available at The Antique Jewellery Company|
|Victorian tortoise opal brooch dated 1870s, with cahonsion eyes set in silver and gold. Available at DB Gems|
|Opal cufflinks. Dated 1890. Available at DB Gems|
|1920s Mexican fire opal platinum ring. Available at DB Gems|
|Opal and heart brooch. Dated 1890. Available at DB Gems|
|1930s Suite, 70ct green tourmaline rose gold and diamonds. Available at Bellum Antiques|
|A very high quality white oval opal ring surrounded by 1.0 ct diamonds. Available at S.Greenstein|
|18ct Gold mounted wood opal and ruby stone set lady's tortoise brooch, c1960s. Available at Shapiro & Co|