october birthstone

Tourmaline: The October Birthstone Guide

Kim Hartman Gemstones, Crystals, and Birthstones, Jewelry Education Leave a Comment

october birthstone

Pink tourmaline crystal in Original Bolero Bracelet

What Is the October Birthstone?

The newest October birthstone is the tourmaline (October also has a second birthstone, which is the opal). Tourmaline is also the gemstone couples give to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary.

What Is the History of the October Birthstone?

October birthstone

Pink tourmaline crystal accent with Classic Dotlet Hoop Earrings

The name “tourmaline” comes from the Sinhalese (a Sri Lankan language) word “toramali,” which means “stone with mixed colors.” This is because the tourmaline can have many colors in a single crystal. Dutch merchants named it after miners found pebbles of the gem in Sri Lanka (“Tourmaline History and Lore”).

Not many gemstones can match the array of colors found in tourmaline. Tourmaline comes in deep reds to pastel pinks and peaches to emerald green and vivid yellows and deep blues (“Tourmaline History and Lore”). Because of tourmaline’s many colors, ancient mystics believed it could “inspire artistic expression.” Also, tourmaline was often confused with other gemstones, like rubies and emeralds (“Tourmaline Birthstone”).

In fact, when a Spanish conquistador discovered tourmaline somewhere in Brazil in the 1500s, he thought he had found an emerald. Also, one of the “rubies” in the Russian crown jewels is actually a red tourmaline (rubellite) (“Tourmaline Birthstone”). People continued to confuse tourmaline for other gemstones until the 1800s when scientists finally recognized tourmaline as its own mineral species (“Tourmaline History and Lore”).

Tourmaline wasn’t discovered in the US until the late 1800s. Miners found it in California in 1892. Tourmaline became known as an American gem because of Tiffany gemologist George F. Kunz. He praised the stones from the tourmaline deposits in California and Maine (“Tourmaline History and Lore”).

Though tourmaline was considered an American gem, one of the biggest markets for it was China. The Chinese Dowager Empress Tz’u Hsi loved the pink and red tourmaline from the San Diego County mines. In China, they carved tourmaline into snuff bottles and used it in jewelry (“Tourmaline History and Lore”).

Where Is the October Birthstone Found?

October birthstone

October birthstone crystal in Bling Dotlet Earrings

Today, tourmaline is most commonly found in Brazil. But it is also mined in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique (“Tourmaline History and Lore”).

Learn more about birthstones in our Birthstone Guide.

To find your perfect October birthstone, visit StyleDots.com today!