October brings sweater weather, fall foliage and most importantly tourmaline, one of my favorite gemstones. October’s birthstone claims my attention because of its vibrant hues, its variety and its powerful metaphysical properties.
Nina Nguyen Designs, Adorn Bangle, 14k yellow gold, pink tourmaline
This stunning beauty was first discovered in the 1500s. The first one found had a deep green hue and was originally claimed as emerald. It’s no surprise that the word tourmaline actually means ‘mixed gems’ in Sinhalese (native tongue of Sri Lanka). Its striking colors often had miners confuse this beauty with a variety of gemstones before it was determined that this gorgeous gem belongs in a class all its own. I don’t think tourmaline gets enough credit for its beauty and versatility. I love using it in my work!
Legend has it that tourmaline traveled to earth through the rainbow, hence the reason it comes in every hue imaginable. Tourmaline is attributed the powerful metaphysical properties of deep enlightenment, power over spiritual affairs and can quell opposition. According to alchemist folklore, this ‘philosopher’s stone’ is also said to have the power to turn base metal into gold! Do you believe the hype? Pink tourmaline, which you’ll find featured in my new Heritage collection, is believed to be the stone of love and communication.
Nina Nguyen Designs, Adorn Ring, 14k yellow gold, pink tourmaline
Even if we can’t confirm the myths and magic around this stone, there is no denying its beauty. The metaphysical properties of gemstones used to be perceived as fact, just as it was accepted that the earth was flat. Perhaps we put more value on science than the spirits these days, but these properties were so widely accepted that they carried over to modern day. Birthstones are still given as gifts. This tradition has been passed along from ancient times when a birthstone was given to a baby’s parents to keep the child safe and sound. I like to believe they still bring a lot of that love and positive energy to any recipient. It’s my favorite gift to give.
Nina Nguyen Designs, Heritage Necklette, 14k yellow gold, tourmaline
Originally opals were deemed as evil and bad luck. They were associated with sorcerers as they closely mimic the luminescence of cats’ and toads’ eyes. Over time the connotation for this precious gemstone shifted significantly. The Bedouins believed that opals arrived to us through thunderstorms as they had tiny bolts of lightening captured inside. I like this theory the best as you see flashes of light reflecting off the stone. Any of you fellow opal addicts know exactly what I mean! The Romans believed opals were the most powerful stone of all since they captured the rainbow of color found in all the existing stones. I believe, much like the Europeans, that opals are the stone of hope, purity and truth.
Nina Nguyen Aztec Earrings, 14kt, blue opal, moonstone
October’s birthstones happen to be two of my favorites: tourmaline and opal. I’ll be sharing more about the magic of tourmaline next week, but for now I’d like to focus on this stone of lightening. Not only are they gorgeous, but they happen to be one-of-a-kind. Boulder opals are a vibrant blue that mimic fingerprints in the sense that no two are ever alike.
Nina Nguyen Calypso Earrings, silver, various opals
Birthstone gift giving is a tradition carries over from ancient times, when the metaphysical properties of stones were accepted as facts. Between then and now a lot of debate has raged on, hence the reason that you’ll often find not one, but two stones chosen for every month of the year.
Nina Nguyen Ambrosia Necklace, 14kt, blue opal
No matter what you believe there is no denying that opals always capture your eye’s attention. Their glow is powerful, strong and never subtle. They make a perfect gift for an October baby or for anyone who loves the magic and power of beautiful jewelry.