Tourmaline: The October Birthstone
October babies have the privilege of claiming one of the most diverse and colorful gemstones as their birthstone – tourmaline. This fascinating gem is renowned for its kaleidoscope of hues and is also believed to have various mystical properties. But did you know that October has not one, but two birthstones? Opals are actually the traditional birthstone.
Where it all began
First discovered in Brazil in 1554, it was believed to be emerald. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that tourmaline was recognized as its own mineral. It was the gemologist George F. Kunz who, while working for Tiffany & Co, decided to promote the use of tourmaline in jewelry after deposits of the gem were found in Maine and California in the late 1800’s.
Tourmaline's Spectral Palette
Tourmaline is often referred to as the "rainbow gem" due to its exceptional color range. From deep greens and blues to vibrant pinks and reds, tourmaline covers the entire spectrum. This wide variety is due to its complex chemical composition, which includes various elements like iron, manganese, and lithium. In fact, some tourmalines can even display multiple colors in a single crystal, creating the popular "watermelon tourmaline" where the gemstone is cut to display the pink-red color transitioning to green, with a white band in between. Maine is famous for its watermelon tourmaline, and although not the sole producer, boasts some of the finest specimens. In fact, tourmaline is the official state mineral of Maine.
A Fun Fact About Tourmaline
A unique characteristic of tourmaline is its ability to produce and hold an electric charge when heated, or physically stressed or squeezed. These characteristics are referred to as pyroelectric and piezoelectric, respectively. This is why tourmaline is also known as “the electric stone.”
Tourmaline: A Gem of Creativity and Expression
As the birthstone for October, tourmaline is believed to possess various metaphysical properties. It is thought to promote creativity, enhance self-expression, and bring balance to its wearer. Whether you're a passionate collector of gemstones or simply admire their beauty, tourmaline's diverse palette and unique properties make it a gem worth celebrating.
So, this October, celebrate your birth month with a gem that truly reflects the colorful and multifaceted nature of life itself – tourmaline.