October's Birthstone: Opal
Named from the Latin opalus, meaning precious stone, the Opal has been highly sought after for centuries. Roman scholar Pliny wrote that Opals carried the green of Emeralds, the red of Rubies, the blue of Sapphires, and the yellow of Topaz. In Roman society, the Opal symbolized love and hope, and many cultures have associated them with Supernatural origins and powers. Legends from Arabic culture say it falls from the heavens in flashes of lightning, while the Greeks believed Opals gave the wearer the gift of prophecy and protected them from diseases.
It has been said that anyone born in another month wearing an Opal is unlucky, however, that myth comes directly from Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter Scott from the 1800s. In actuality, Opals have been regarded as perhaps the luckiest and most magical of all the gemstones because of its ability to display all the colors.
Opals are created from seasonal rains that drench dry ground containing ancient underground rock, pulling silica downward. In dry periods, much of the water evaporates, leaving behind solid deposits of silica between the layers of underground sedimentary rock: this is where Opals are found. Opals contain up to 20% water, and have to be carefully cared for to maintain their beauty.