October’s Birthstones Symbolize Transformation, Compassion, and Tolerance

Photo: W+G Creative
October marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall season, ushering in not only sweater weather and pumpkin-spice everything but also two new birthstones: opal and tourmaline. Each October birthstone is unique—and not just on the surface level. In the world of healing crystals, they’re believed to be imbued with energetic powers that people can tap into, regardless of whether they were born in the month of October.

Experts In This Article

To understand unique properties of opal and tourmaline, Well+Good spoke with crystal expert at Tiny Rituals Brett Larkin and numerologist and certified crystal healer Joy Woodward about the October birthstones.

Properties of opal, the October birthstone of transformation

A precious opal—one of the October birthstones—against a white backdrop.
Photo: Getty Images/ Panchro Gelatin

  • Birthstone color: Iridescent
  • Chakra: All chakras
  • Origin: Varied

Opal is composed of silica, and it comes in two main varieties: common and precious opals, the latter of which is commonly associated with the month of October, says Woodward. According to Larkin, precious opals have a prismatic quality that not only sets it apart from its counterpart, but also all other gemstones. Its intrinsic microstructure—consisting of tiny and tightly packed silica spheres—allows the stone to diffract white light into a kaleidoscope of colors, which change as the opal or the viewer shifts.

This prism-like effect is also what makes precious opal so prized among jewelers, and though it can be sourced from around the world, like Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States, Woodward says most precious opals come from Australia.

Birthstone meaning and symbolism of opal

Opal is a stone of joy, but it is also an “emotional amplifier,” says Woodward. Whether you’re happy, angry, or sad, opal can amplify your current emotional state—and moreover, illuminate the emotional energies that you might be lurking underneath the surface. This makes opal ideal for shadow work, she says, as the stone can provide an assist in helping you identify your shadows—an important step in the healing process.

What’s more, it can transmute those energies and emotions into something positive. “It provides healing to the owner by boosting vibrations to achieve higher bliss,” says Larkin. Not only that, she says that it can bring harmony and balance to its owner, too. Like clear quartz, precious opal links to all of the seven chakras, working to “pull everything into alignment” and simultaneously “pull out what needs to go,” says Woodward, like negative energy and emotions.

Properties of tourmaline, the October birthstone of compassion and tolerance

A pink tourmaline—one of the October birthstones—against a white backdrop.
Photo: Getty Images/ Lermannika

  • Birthstone color: Pink
  • Chakra: Heart chakra
  • Origin: Varied

Tourmaline is a semiprecious stone that “comes in every color,” says Larkin. “Some of these stones can actually change color, appearing green in fluorescent light and red under incandescent light.” While each variety of tourmaline is special in their own way, it’s pink tourmaline that is typically associated with the month of October, says Woodward. “It’s mainly found in Brazil, but also Madagascar, Russia, in the US, Africa, and Sri Lanka.”

Birthstone meaning and symbolism of tourmaline

Generally speaking, tourmaline symbolizes “joy, generosity, and creativity,” says Larkin. “Tourmaline is also a stone of reconciliation by offering compassion and the ability to keep a cool head in challenging times.” As such, pink tourmaline shares some of these qualities, but Woodward says, it can also “wrap you in a loving energy and offers protection and freedom from worry and negativity.” In this way, one might think of pink tourmaline as a force field powered by love.

“I always like to think you’re putting yourself in a bubble of pink, sparkly light when you’ve got a pink tourmaline,” says Woodward. “It can repair cracks, tears, and holes in your aura to offer you that protection.” In the same way that tourmaline in general can help users cultivate more compassion and keep a cool head, pink tourmaline can also help direct a user’s energy towards kindness and tolerance while preventing impulsive reactions.

Given that a loving energy is at the core of pink tourmaline, it also corresponds to the heart chakra. It can help open you to receiving and giving love, says Woodward, as well as heal emotional wounds and old issues that can weigh heavily on the heart.

With these in mind, it’s clear that opal and pink tourmaline have unique properties, but both can be beneficial to anyone who wants to harness their energetic powers. According to Larkin, they can be great stones for Libras and Scorpios born in October, and opal and tourmaline can even work synergistically to support these zodiac signs, says Larkin.

Think of Libra, for instance. “Although Libras have many strengths, including their passion for making sure that those around them are happy, one of their significant weaknesses is avoiding conflict, causing them to feel burnt out,” she says. “However, opal’s ability to bring harmony, paired with tourmaline’s reconciliation traits, can help Libras face conflict healthily by allowing them to keep calm when having difficult conversations and resolving problems.”

According to Larkin, indecisiveness is another one of Libra’s traits that the October birthstones can help bring into balance. “Libras can often be indecisive, so clarity and guidance from opal, on top of the wisdom from tourmaline, can keep them grounded and help them make decisions under pressure,” she says.

As for Scorpio, Larkin says that they can temper the zodiac sign’s vindictive side. “Scorpios are known for being incredibly loyal, but their weakness lies within their strong personality, which can cause them to be vengeful,” she says. “As opal is excellent for providing balance, this can help Scorpios to stabilize their emotions and deal with them fairly instead of being resentful, while tourmaline can help them find compassion in times of conflict and prevent them from resorting to extreme measures.”

Another one of Scorpio’s traits is stubbornness—and they can cling to feelings of anger or resentment when wronged. Opal and tourmaline can help overcome these feelings. “Opal’s harmonic traits and tourmaline’s ability to aid reconciliation can help Scorpios find forgiveness and make amends with loved ones,” says Larkin.

What are birthstones?

Birthstones are gemstones that represent a person’s birth month or zodiac sign. Their origins are believed to trace back to biblical times, and the first-century historian Flavius Josephus associated the 12 gemstones on Aaron’s breastplate in the Book of Exodus with the months of the year and the 12 zodiac signs. However, the custom of wearing an individual gem per month didn’t begin until around the 15th or 16th century in Germany or Poland. Birthstones are also found to have origins in Eastern Culture. The Ratna Pariksha, a fifth-century Hindu text, linked specific gems to deities, celestial bodies, and days of the week, while Vedic astrologers recommend certain gems to individuals based on their astrological birth chart.

In 1912, the American Council Association of Jewelers (which is currently known as the Jewelers of America) created a standardized list of birthstones in the United States. This list was updated by the Jewelry Industry Council of America and later by The American Gem Trade Association to include new types of birthstones for certain months of the year.

An overview of the birthstones for every month of the year

Want to find a crystal or gemstone that corresponds to your birth month? Here’s a quick overview of the birthstones for every month of the year:

Frequently asked questions about the October birthstones

Why does October have two birthstones?

While opal is the original birthstone for October, tourmaline became the second birthstone for the month in later years, allowing people to select an option that corresponds to their preferences.

What is the birthstone for Libra?

The birthstone that is commonly associated with Libras born in August is peridot, while Libras born in October are typically linked to opal and tourmaline.

What is the birthstone for Scorpio?

Scorpios born in the month of October are typically associated with the month’s birthstones—namely, opal and tourmaline, while those born in November can be linked to topaz and citrine.

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