October’s birthstone is the multi-colored opal. Opal is a wonderful gemstone with a unique characteristic: the stone exhibits a full color spectrum rainbow of colors. Opals come in a variety of base colors- ranging from an almost opaque white with dots of color to the dark based black opal (the rarest and most sought after). However, the number of color variations tends to be endless. The majority of opals (up to 95%) come from Australian deserts. But this gemstone can be found in many parts of the world-including Mexico, Hungary, Brazil and Africa. The Australian opal has the lowest water content (usually 2%) making it much more stable and less likely to craze (cracking from within) than the others. The name ‘opal’ means “valuable stone” or “gem” in ancient Sanskrit. It is no surprise that this month’s birthstone is widely used in jewelry making, and is deeply loved by many people around the world. To demonstrate the strongest play-of-color – the amazing ability to flash different colors as the stone is moved– they are usually cut into round or oval cabochons. Opal doublets are thin layers of opal mounted on some hard surface that are also common in jewelry. Opal jewelry should be worn as often as possible, because it absorbs humidity from the air, and oil from the person who wears it. It should never be stored in a flame-proof safe or a zip-lock baggy. Australian opals do not need to be kept in water or mineral oil. For centuries, people have believe in opal’s healing powers. Because it has the colors found in all other gemstones, ancient Egyptians considered opal the strongest and most powerful of healing stones. It is believed that the opal helps fight depression and strengthens the positive characteristics of its wearer. It may also help to find true love. At Lapidary Arts, we carry a wide selection of Australian opals in many different colors. You may choose a pre-made design, or order your own custom-designed jewelry piece!