October Birthstone: History, Meanings, Symbolism and More

October BirthstoneOctober is the season of change. Autumn officially commences, and the natural world transforms into vibrant hues of orange, yellow, and gold to prepare for new beginnings. Echoing this colorful transition are two vivid October birthstones: opal and tourmaline.

What is October’s birthstone color, and why are there two birthstones for October? Thanks to the immense variety of opals and tourmalines, you’ll have limitless color choices for styling your birthstone jewelry.

What are the October Birthstones?

The two birthstones for October are Opal and Tourmaline. Let’s have a look at each of the October birthstones, their history, meaning, and symbolism. Fair warning: you’ll be seeing the world through colorful lenses after learning about these radiant gems!

The Opal Birthstone

Let’s kickoff strong with the intriguing gem with a thousand colors: the opal. Opal’s are one of the oldest and most adored gems because of their unique iridescent effect. When you gaze at an opal jewel, fiery colors dance in striking shades of green, blue, orange, red, green, white, and yellow.

For decades, opal was the original and sole October birthstone, until the American Gem Society and National Retail Jewelers Council inducted tourmaline as an alternative in 1952.

Opal’s are the only gemstone to exhibit this signature feature called “play of color.” So, what does opal mean?

History and Meaning

The oldest records of this mesmerizing stone come from India, where the Sanskrit term, “Upala,” fittingly means “precious stone.” The ancient Greek term, “Opallos,” means “to see a change.”

We think this is the most accurate descriptor for the phenomenal transitions of the gem’s color, which shifts and dances in every color. Over the years, the term adapted to “Opalus” in Latin, and eventually, “Opal” in English.

The meaning has evolved to describe any blazing display of color with the term “opalescence.” Writers and modern thinkers often liken the play of color to other natural phenomena like celestial galaxies, meteor showers, and volcanoes.

october birthstone opal

Origins & Mining Locations

The primary source is Australia, as the country’s many opal fields dominate the global supply. There are also opal fields in Ethiopia, Brazil, and Mexico. The reason being, each origin, and field has its own species of opal.

For example, Lightning Ridge is a famous opal field in New South Wales, Australia. Here, you’ll find the world’s largest supply of prestigious black opal. We can thank the dry, arid climate for baking these gorgeous gemstones!

This October Birthstone’s color is the topic of much discussion and inspiration, but what about the more profound symbolism?


It’s no secret that opals are mysterious and intriguing. Over the centuries, many beliefs and meanings developed around opals, including:

  • Ancient Greeks believed that opals have intuitive properties that bestow people with foresight and prophesy.

  • In Europe, opals represent hope, faith, truth, and purity.

  • Opals commemorate a 14th wedding anniversary.

  • During antiquity, opal’s nickname was “Queen of Gems” because people believed that the myriad of colors encompassed every gemstone.

We’ve covered the original October birthstone, but what if Opal isn’t your style? Not to worry! We have another beautiful gemstone in store for October birthdays: tourmaline.

The Tourmaline Birthstone

Continuing with the theme of shifting and transitioning, the second October birthstone is tourmaline! While opal exhibits a mixture of colors on each stone, tourmaline comes in nearly every color there is, including magenta, blue, yellow, orange, and pink!

Some tourmalines have a mixture of colors thanks to their unique chemical composition. Tourmaline is a crystalline silicate mineral, and trace elements alter its color. The strongest influence on Tourmaline’s color is the presence of copper, a natural coloring agent.

Not surprisingly, this October birthstone name relates to its unique coloration. The Sinhalese word, “toramalli,” means “stone with mixed colors,” and beautifully depicts the vivid display of color seen in tourmaline gems. Like sapphire, the September birthstone,

tourmaline comes in every color of the rainbow. That’s excellent news for October babies keen on personalized gifts!

october birthstone tourmaline

History and Meaning

A Spanish conquistador first discovered Tourmaline in Brazil during the 1500s. Originally mistaking the stone for an Emerald, his error held until the 1800s when mineralogists finally identified that Tourmaline is actually a completely independent mineral species. 

Like opal, tourmaline has a multitude of meanings and interpretations; here are some of the most notable:

  • During ancient times, mystics and psychics believed tourmaline inspired creativity and expression.

  • Tourmaline’s many colors match a spectrum of moods, and some of the most popular colors include red, emerald green, and blue violet.

  • This October birthstone is the celebratory stone for the 8th wedding anniversary.

Origins and Mining Locations

Most tourmaline gemstones come from deposits in Brazil, East Africa, Afghanistan, and in the U.S. The gemstone can also be found in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia as well.


That answer depends on what color we’re talking about. For example, Black tourmaline is one of the most popular selections because of its protective healing properties. Green tourmaline bolsters stamina, courage, and power. Pink tourmaline symbolizes love, kindness, compassion, and a gentle heart.

We see tourmaline in every color, but what makes this stone stand out is the richness of its saturation. Most tourmalines are vivid and deeply colored, making them beautiful assets for birthstone jewelry!

October Birthstone — Gemstones and Jewelry

There’s nothing quite as resonant as a personalized gift to make someone feel special. That’s why October babies will love birthstone jewelry! Each of these jewels are sturdy enough for daily wear, but you’ll want to regularly clean them to keep them polished and sparkling long term.

Are you searching for the perfect gift for the October birthday in your life? Why not surprise them with October birthstone jewelry! Pay attention to their favorite colors. Do they love pink? Then consider gifting them a pink tourmaline necklace pendant. Maybe opal is more their speed? You can’t go wrong with an opal ring!

Thanks to October’s two birthstones, you can tailor your gift to fit them beautifully. Now all that’s left to do is find the perfect stones. Browse opal and tourmaline gems today!



Was this article helpful?

14 people found this article helpful



Great info didn’t even know the US had Tourmaline

16th May 2022

Very thorough.

23rd Oct 2021

I did learn something today! Thanks for the information.

4th Jul 2020

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