The Many Colors Of October’s Birthstone

A La Vieille Russie Al La Vieille Russie Black opal and diamond cluster ring mounted

A La Vieille Russie

Those born in October have multiple choices when it comes to their birthstone. Opals, the primary stone, features an array of alternatives: Australian black opals, which are anything but basic black. Instead, they are the most valuable opal and are vividly colored with beautiful shimmering flecks; Australian Boulder opals are the second most valuable opal, which often come out of the ground looking like miniature paintings when polished and set. There are fire opals which are orange or reddish in the background, flecked with different hues, white opals, which are softer and more common and pink opals which are traditionally more opaque. Is it any wonder that the word opal derived its name from “opalus”, which means “to see a change in color.”

Although there is a secondary birthstone which is tourmaline, and a lovely choice, here we concentrate on the range of opals in a range of antique, vintage and modern designs.

In 2021 when I showed the best of modern designer opals, I quoted Roman scholar Pliny The Elder and the quote still describes the rare beauty of this gemstone best. “There is in them a softer fire than the ruby, there is the brilliant purple amethyst, and the sea-green of the emerald – all shining together in incredible union. Some by their splendor rival the colors of the painters, others the flame of burning sulfur or of fire quickened by oil.”

And due to the beauty of personality of each stone, opals continue to be a favorite among designers, consumers and jewelry collectors alike.

Here are some alluring and original designs from different periods in time. (To read more about the history of opals, please go to last year’s piece here)

Nan Fusco

Theo Fennell

Bentley & Skinner

Amali Jewelry

Estate Diamond Jewelry

Margery Hirschey

Arman Sarkisyan

Simon Teakle

Linda Hoj


Storrow Jewelry

Monica Rich Kosann

Nadine Aysoy

Mackowe Gallery