Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's October! Opal!

October brings in fall and hayrides and bond fires and home coming and chilly nites and ....and...

Can you tell I really like October :)

Opal is the birthstone for the month of October. In ancient times opal was recognized as a symbol of faithfulness and confidence. The brilliantly colored opal was said to have magic powers because of its play of many colors. It was known to strengthen eyesight, protect against contagious diseases, ease sadness, and turn pale in the presence of poison. Opal symbolizes magic, love, hope, happiness, and truth.

This is what I traditionally think of as opal

“Natures Fireworks" and “The Queen of Gems" are some of the superlatives that have been used to describe opal.

My favorite: The Australian Aboriginals believe that they have lived in Australia since the Dreamtime, the beginning of all creation. Over time, their culture has produced a rich variety of mythologies in hundreds of different languages. To the Aborigines, opals, like other minerals, have a spiritual value because they represent something a Dreaming ancestor left behind as a sign of their presence. The aboriginal Wangkumara tribe recount a legend of how their people gained fire from opal stones, with the assistance of a Muda – a creator who switches from human form to pelican:

Long, long ago the Wangkumara people decided to send a pelican (Muda) to explore the Northern Territory, so he could return and tell them what was there. After a time, while still in Queensland, the pelican felt ill and landed on top of a hill. While resting, the pelican observed the ground beneath him, amazed by its magnificent array of colours. Being curious he began to peck at the coloured stones with his beak. Suddenly, a spark flew out and lit dry grass nearby. The flames rose and spread across long distances, approaching a group of Wangkumara who were camped near by. The people were able to cook their meat and fish for the first time, grateful for this new gift brought by these precious stones.

Have you seen boulder opal?? Be still my heart!!!

In the 19th century, opal was considered unlucky in
Europe, due to the plot of a popular novel of the time written by Sir Walter Scott, while in Asia it has always been considered to bring loyalty and hope to the wearer.

Prized for its unique ability to refract and reflect specific wavelengths of light, the Opal was called "Cupid Paederos" by the Romans, meaning a child beautiful as love. One legendary explanation for this gemstone's origin is that it fell from heaven in a flash of fiery lightning.

How about Fire opal...SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! (my mom's favorite)

The Opal dates back to prehistoric times. It is a non-crystallized silica, which is a mineral found near the earth's surface in areas where ancient geothermal hot springs once existed. As the hot springs dried up, layers of the silica, combined with water, were deposited into the cracks and cavities of the bedrock, forming Opal. This gemstone actually contains up to 30% water, so it must be protected from heat or harsh chemicals, both of which will cause drying and may lead to cracking and loss of iridescence. Opal must also be guarded from blows, since it is relatively soft and breaks easily.

Most of the world's Opal deposits are found in Southern Australia. Other sources of this gemstone are Brazil, Mexico, Czechoslovakia and Nevada. Quality Opal is very expensive, made more so by the caution that must be exercised in cutting, polishing and setting it into jewelry.

This is the opal my mom gave me. It is cut on the bias so you can see all the layers in the stone and then inlayed in the pendant. I wear it everyday!

Now lets not forget pink tourmaline :) Pink tourmaline has the seemingly magical property of pyroelectricity. Scientifically speaking, this means that when heated, the gem takes on a static electric charge, making it capable of attracting lightweight objects. No wonder this gemstone was revered for its mystical properties centuries ago! Considered the "stone of the muse," it was believed to stimulate the creative process of its wearer. Pink varieties of Tourmaline range in color from pastel pink to ruby red and are mined in Brazil, Afghanistan, Burma, and India. A gift of this stone is symbolic of hope.

Up until my 30's I didn't know that October had two birthstones, pink tourmaline and opal. Growing up it had always been that little piece of pink glass to represent the pink tourmaline!

What is your favorite thing about October??

1 comment:

  1. STOP! I can't take any more! Wow, I thought that first opal was PERFECTION, then I saw the next one and the next, yikes! Reminds me how much I miss stopping by here to learn, laugh and find comfort in your passion!! Thanks for being YOU! :)