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hose born in October are lucky enough to have two birthstones from which to choose. Opals, opaque and white, with an iridescent, rainbow-coloured shimmer, are the traditional October birthstone and their name, it’s thought, originated in India; in Sanskrit the stone was called upala, 'precious stone', which became opalus. Most opals are valued for their shifting colours – known as ‘play-of-colour’ – which led writers over the centuries to compare them to fireworks, galaxies and volcanoes. Our ancestors have variously prized opals for the gift of prophesy and protection from disease, as well as as a symbol of purity, hope and truth.
Tourmaline, the newer October birthstone, is just as striking. Its name comes from the Sinhalese word toramalli, which means 'stone with mixed colours’; it often has multiple colours in one crystal. Popular are pink and red rubellites, emerald green tourmalines, and bright green and blue-to-violet paraíba tourmalines. Tourmaline is said to be a receptive stone, calming, soothing and spiritual, and ancient mystics believed that this October birthstone could inspire artistic expression. Here’s our guide to the best opal and tourmaline birthstone jewellery for October.
As part of her Birthstone necklace collection, all featuring a birthstone and a delicate gold chain, Kiki McDonough chose a bright pink tourmaline to take centre stage for October’s design, held in place by six small diamonds and within two interlocking yellow gold rings.
Tourmaline and Diamond Pendant, £1,200, kiki.co.uk
One of a kind? Tick. Fancy-coloured centre stone? Tick? Unsubtle, carat-tastic and completely fabulous? Tick tick tick. This majestic cocktail ring puts a 6.24 carat paraiba tourmaline front and centre, enclosed by eight pear-shaped sapphires, eight oval-shaped aquamarines and 52 round brilliant diamonds, set in platinum. Goes with everything; wear to everything.
Winston Candy Paraiba Tourmaline Ring, POA, harrywinston.com
This beautiful ring also comes in white gold, and was designed by Chupi as part of its Evil Eye collection; its pieces are to be worn as tokens of protection and good fortune, inspired by ancient amulets. A sparkling opal is held in a solid gold East-West setting (where the stone is oriented horizontally on the band) and flanked by diamonds on a knife edge band. Chupi reminds us that opals are beautiful but delicate, and need to be worn with care.
Opal and Diamond Ring, £749, uk.chupi.com
A different take on jewellery ownership comes courtesy of Covett, where spectacular everyday or occasion jewellery can be rented or shared - find out more here. ‘Alice’, with a dazzling blue opal at her centre, highlighted by two halos of aquamarines and blue sapphires, is a multifunctional jewellery hero which can be worn four different ways; as a necklace, a bracelet, a wrap-around hand jewel or an earring drop (combined with your own earring stud).
Blue Opal, Aquamarine and Sapphire Eclipse, valued at £3,060, enquire for rental price, cove.tt
Handmade and hallmarked at the Goldsmiths Centre in London, these beautiful hanging earrings feature teardrop opals and diamonds set in ethical recycled gold. They’re from Bhattachary’s Mor Collection and the design was inspired by the peacock vahana who travels with Saraswati, goddess of learning and culture.
Ashru Opal Earrings, £2,980, florabhattachary.com
We love the way the pale purple jade brings out that tone in the opals, while the diamonds and yellow gold reflect their warm, sunshiny aspect too. The opals stay close to the ear while the twin jade stones and lines of gold and diamonds move beneath them, giving these earrings a dynamic element as the colours catch the light; you might be able to tell that the brand's founder Aishleen Lester was a successful sculptor before she moved into jewellery design.
Inspired by Tessa’s love for nostalgia and sweet treats, this ring is for anyone who can’t possibly commit to one gemstone. It contains a ‘scoop’ of October birthstone tourmaline, in a fruity raspberry hue, with blackcurrant amethyst, deep cherry garnet, rose quartz, orange citrine and hessonite to boot, all set in an 18ct yellow gold cone-style basket.
Ice Cream Ring, £6,800, tessapackard.com
If you just can’t choose between opals and tourmalines, this white and rose gold ring makes the decision oh so easy. It houses not only a striking black opal which hails from Australia, but also a square-cut tourmaline sourced from Mozambique; so too were the four fancy-cut multi-coloured tourmalines. Completing the glittering gemstone line-up are two pear-shaped diamonds, an oval-cut diamond, a cushion-cut diamond and brilliant-cut diamonds.
Les Ciels de Chaumet Passages Ring, POA, chaumet.com
Bucherer Fine Jewellery
Size does matter; these small-but-perfectly-formed earring studs pack a pretty pink punch, both in terms of gemstone and metal. Pink gold complements two tricorn pink tourmalines, which are in turn surrounded by 36 twinkling brilliant-cut diamonds. Happy birthday to you…!
Shapes Earrings, £1,100, bucherer.com