Opal & Tourmaline – October Birthstones – Part 2

September 23 – October 22

We began our exploration of October Birthstones with the Opal and continue with Tourmaline, the gem of love and commitment.

Like the Opal, it is known for its exquisite color schemes. In fact, a single Tourmaline can display several colors, making it a gem that is suitable to many tastes and to many styles of fashion. Gems in the Tourmaline family are favorites among collectors of fine minerals.

Tourmaline is known, also, for its pyroelectric attributes. That is, its ability to generate a temporary voltage when it is heated or cooled. For this reason, it was greatly valued by alchemists, who believed this was certain evidence of Tourmaline’s kinship with the philosopher’s stone, the legendary substance with the unique ability to turn base metals into gold, among other things. This will make a good topic for a future article.

In Search of the Philosophers’ Stone – Joseph Wright of Derby (1771)

We talked about Watermelon Tourmaline in a previous post, a multi-colored variety featuring pink, green and white color bands that can give it the appearance of watermelon. Indeed, cutting Watermelon Tourmaline into slices reveals a pink center, white ring, and green edge.

Tourmaline was discovered sometime between the late 17th century and early 18th century by Dutch traders traveling in West Coastal Italy. Thus, it is around this time that it was introduced to European markets. This gem is present in great abundance among the jewelry of European and Asian royalty.

The name Tourmaline comes from “turmali,” a term that means “mixed gemstone.” It owes this name to the fact that it was frequently confused with other gems. This, it seems, is right in line with Tourmaline’s versatility.

It is interesting to note, also, that 18th century literature makes several references to Tourmaline as a gem of particular interest and assistance to those pursuing creative endeavors, such as artists, actors and authors. During this time, a Dutch scientist claimed the gem had the ability to induce sleep in a feverish child if wrapped in silk and placed against his or her cheek. Could this have been a practical application of the pyroelectric phenomenon?

Clearly, Tourmaline is a fitting gem for one who celebrates a birthday between September 23 and October 22 since such a person is also described as being  of a fiery disposition, in the sense of having enthusiastic confidence.

Watermelon Tourmaline

Read about other birthstones HERE – (this is a new segment).

Click HERE for more articles mentioning the opal.

Click HERE for more articles mentioning tourmaline.


About PS MacMurray

Paschal'Simon MacMurray, the scribe, specializes in providing a no nonsense Facebook and Blog presence for small business owners who want quality without breaking the bank. PS MacMurray, the artisan, creates art on a whim using fabric, paper, beads, twine and wire. View all posts by PS MacMurray

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