Opals and Aquamarines: The Alluring Birthstones of October

History and significance

Thursday 4th October 2018

If you have a birthday in October you are fortunate to have opal and aquamarine as your birthstones. They both have very contrasting colours but are equally beautiful and mesmerizing.

Opals have been treasured and revered for centuries. The word opal comes from the ancient Greek and Latin words Opallios and Opalus meaning “to perceive a colour change.” Ancient civilisations believed that opals granted the wearers powers of foresight and allowed them to see into the future. There is said to be great superstition surrounding opals. This came about in the novel “Anne of Geierstein” by Sir Walter Scott written in the 1800’s. This a myth and during most of history, opals have been regarded as the luckiest and most magical of all gemstones because they can express all colours. Opals have been used in antique, vintage and ancient jewellery for centuries, they were especially favoured during the Art Nouveau period.

The first ever recorded opal market was in the Ancient Roman times. The Romans were captivated by the play of colour in the stones. Marc Anthony coveted one particular stone that was in the possession of Senator Nonius. He said the bright lights in the stone reminded him of the nights he spent with Cleopatra. It does look like the stone is alive, the iridescence in opals is due to the gemstone’s composition of stacked silica spheres, and it is the diffraction and interference of light between these spheres that create the fascinating changing colour play.

The other birthstone of October is aquamarine, it is quite a contrast to the bold colours of opal. Its tranquil pale blue to sea green colour is where it gets its name. Aquamarine means sea water in Latin. Most large stones have a limpid transparency and they sparkle just like the pale blue ocean. Aquamarines were often coupled with diamonds in large statement rings or delicate earrings.

It was said that aquamarine gives the wearer protection against foes in battle. It made the wearer unconquerable and amiable and also quickened intellect.

Celebrating a birthday for yourself or a loved one this month? At Berganza we have a range of opal and aquamarine set jewellery from the ancient, antique and vintage worlds. Choose from a wide selection of rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants and brooches to secure a one of a kind opal or aquamarine set jewellery piece today.

antique diamond opal ring berganza hatton garden
Crystal opal and diamond cluster ring, English, circa 1920.
Ref: 23231
Aquamarine and diamond brooch berganza hatton garden
Art Deco aquamarine and diamond brooch, American, circa 1925.
Ref: 25324
Aquamarine and diamond pendant hatton garden
Aquamarine and diamond pendant, English, circa 1910.
Ref: 25134
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Updated 19/05/2024 at 1:34PM

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