What To Know About October's Birthstone + How To Care For It
Each month of the calendar year comes with its own designated birthstone (and birth month flower), and the stone for October is none other than the opal. Here's what to know about this birthstone, from spiritual meanings to how to take care of it, according to crystal experts.
The meaning behind birthstones.
While the official birthstones we're familiar with today weren't selected until the early 1900s, the tradition of birthstones has been around for centuries.
In fact, they even appear in the book of Exodus (28:17-20), where it's written that 12 gemstones were fixed on the prophet Aaron's breastplate. "There were 12 stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the 12 tribes," the Bible reads.
Birthstones also have roots in Western astrology and Ayurveda, according to founder and educational director of the Love and Light School of Crystal Therapy Ashley Leavy. She previously explained to mbg the National Association of Jewelers actually standardized the official birthstones in 1912 because there were so many birthstone options across various traditions.
Nowadays, birthstones are a popular gift for everything from birthdays to holidays to anniversaries and more.
The October birthstone: Opal.
If you were born in October, the colorful opal is your birthstone. This stone is a type of silica and is technically classified as a mineraloid. Opal can be found all around the world, from Brazil to Mexico and in parts of the United States—but Australia actually produces over 90% of the world's opal.
This precious gemstone is well known for its fantastic display of color, with a mesmerizing ability to flash all shades of the rainbow. It can also come in a variety of colors, from blue to white to pink and more, and it contains high water content, which makes it a particularly fragile stone.
Meanings & symbolism of opal.
Since opal comes in so many different varieties and colors, its meaning and symbolism can also vary. But according to Yulia Van Doren, opal is an invitation to dig deeper. "This mysterious stone hides endless shimmering rainbows within its milky-white depths," helping us to remember to look beyond the surface, she previously explained to mbg. "Look deeper, look closer: at people, places, ideas, and within yourself."
In terms of how this stone relates to October, Van Doren also explains opal makes a great companion crystal for Libras and Scorpios born in October. "Opal helps balance Libra's natural inclination toward order and aesthetic beauty so that they don't get stuck in surface-level superficiality," she explains. And for Scorpios, she adds, opal's multifaceted energy complements their multilayered personality.
Whether you're wearing it as jewelry, have some in your purse, or keep a piece on your altar, opal in any color can help amplify any intention you're working with. It's also great for chakra work, as it comes in so many different colors, so you could use a different piece of opal for each chakra. The heart chakra, for example, would be well served by pink or green opal, while white opal would be great for the crown chakra.
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How to take care of opal.
When it comes to caring for your opal, gentle cleansing methods are recommended, according to modern mystic Imani Quinn. Quinn previously explained that you'll want to avoid submerging opal in water, salt, or anything that could scratch the surface of your stone.
Opal is as gorgeous as it is delicate, and those born in October would be remiss not to get their hands on some. In fact, whether you're born in October or not, this beautiful stone makes a wonderful addition to any crystal collection.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.