October babies are lucky. They have two birthstones: opal and tourmaline. Opal is better known as a birthstone, but I think it’s good thing that there is a backup. Opals are relatively soft gems — about as hard as glass — that are more easily scratched than other stones. Once in a while, someone makes me laugh by telling me that her dream engagement ring is an opal (or a pearl, which is even softer). Diamonds are the hardest gems, yet people manage to damage the diamonds in their engagement rings through merciless wear and tear. Opals are definitely not suited to swimming, working out, cleaning the house, hanging out on the beach, accidentally bumping into a piece of furniture … trust me, they are not engagement ring material! They’re great for cocktail rings. Literally. Pretty much all you should be doing while wearing a big opal ring is drinking cocktails.
Opals also can crack if exposed to intense vibrations (like in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner); major fluctuations in heat; or extremely low humidity for extended periods (beware of zero-humidity bank vaults).
If you love the beauty of opals, I suggest wearing them in a necklace or earring style rather than a ring you plan to wear every day. Necklaces and earrings don’t slam into things as often as rings and bracelets. You don’t wield a tennis racquet with your earlobe! When I got a gawjuss Australian black opal at a JCK jewelry show in Las Vegas, I was torn between using it in a single earring or a necklace. I eventually decided on a necklace, which I’ve previewed on Instagram. The design will be a Jewel of the Month on the blog in the next couple of months.
In the meantime, I’ve got some tourmaline pieces that are ready for delivery. Tourmaline comes in a variety of colors. The rich green of the 6.5 carat tourmaline in my Fulvia ring is a favorite of mine.
I’ve got one Fulvia ring left in size 6.
The Fulvia ring is one of my styles inspired by a historical woman. The real Fulvia was the pre-Cleopatra wife of Roman general Marc Antony — he was the third powerful politician that she married. She was enormously powerful herself, and became the first living Roman woman to be featured on coins. What made me fall in love with her was this description from the historian Plutarch:
“She was a woman who took no interest in spinning or managing a household, nor could she be content to rule a husband who had no ambition for public life: her desire was to govern those who governed or to command a commander-in-chief. And in fact Cleopatra was indebted to Fulvia for teaching Antony to obey a wife’s authority for by the time he met her, he had already been quite broken in and schooled to accept the sway of women.”
By the way, that passage was meant to be insulting. Too bad for Plutarch that it made me think, “Fulvia is my soulmate from another era.”
I also have cabochon tourmaline birthstone studs in a lighter green.
These aren’t on my website yet, but if you’re interested in them, email me at info at wendybrandes dot com. They can be worn alone or with my FitzRoy the Cat earring jackets.
All the other birthstones are available, of course.
If you don’t see yours on my website yet, email me!