Those who are born in October are lucky to have two radiant gems attached to their special month! Tourmaline and opal exhibit a vibrant spectrum of colors, boasting charisma and appeal to any piece they are fashioned in. These gems are high in demand around the world because of their dual color hue combinations and crystal structures. It’s easy to identify what makes tourmaline and opal so special by simply viewing them, but we want to provide history and other facts about these rare gems.
Tourmaline, Sinhalese tura mali meaning “mixed stone”, is available in a kaleidoscope of colors and combinations. According to legend, this powerful gem can inspire creativity and magnify intuition. Often referred to as the “peace stone”, tourmaline is thought to protect against fear, jealousy and aggression.
Another factor that makes tourmaline so unique is its electrical properties. When warmed or rubbed, tourmaline can attract lint, ash and much more. This property of tourmaline has made it a popular ingredient in moisturizers because manufacturers claim it can pull unwanted debris from skin.
Though tourmaline is relatively new to the gem world, its many color options make it simple for designers to create pieces to reflect every mood. Tourmaline offers red, magenta, pink, orange, yellow, mint, grass and forest green, ocean blue, violet, and even bicolor pink and green stones. Almost every color of tourmaline is found in Afghanistan and Brazil. They are, also, mined in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Sri Lanka, and California and Maine in the United States.
The name opal comes from the Roman term ‘Opalus”. Some historians believe that the word is associated with ‘Ops’ wife of Saturn, goddess of fertility. Others believe that the term comes from the Sanskrit word “Upala”.
To the ancient Romans, opal was a symbol of hope faith, innocence and purity. Some believed that the opal fell from the heavens when lightning would strike the earth. Some believed opal was used to indicate the health and mental state of the wearer because of its color changing abilities. Legend also claims that the opal made its wearer invisible making it popular among thieves and spies.
Other cultures believed that opal brought fortune and luck. The opal possesses elements of the many gemstones that are captured by its spectrum of colors. As a result, the opal was thought to bring prosperity and success.
The opal is made from non-crystalline silica gel that has seeped into crevices of sedimentary strata. Over time, the gel heats, molds and eventually hardens to form opal gemstones. The opal is closely packed in spherical layers that create the radiance and intensity of the gem. The opal can showcase many colors.
Both the tourmaline and opal exhibit rich history and meaning. For any jewelry or gem collector, especially those born in October, these gems add beauty and wonder to your style and home. See our collection here: https://goo.gl/Vhwy8l
The following report was sent to Gary Bowersox after meeting with the Global Witness team in Afghanistan.
Who would think that the luminous lapis lazuli would cause such a stir in Afghanistan? This dazzling blue gem has Afghanistan's president trying to classify the lapis lazuli as a "conflict minera". What does this mean? It means that Afghanistan would be forced to regulate the mining of lapis lazuli. Militants, including the Taliban, earn millions of dollars a year from illegal mining and road taxes of the rare blue stone. The government, on the other hand, has yet to provide legal and/or nonpolitical licenses to anyone in the mining areas in Afghanistan.
Two local strongmen are violently competing for control over the mines. Both parties have been exploiting the mines and also have links to different factions in the New Afghanistan Government and the Taliban. This reserve supplies most of the world's lapis lazuli. (Click here for the full story.)
The Taliban's second largest source of income is illegally obtaining lapis lazuli, yet the gem only contributes to 1% of the state's income. The lapis lazuli has the potential to generate millions of dollars annually for Afghanistan. This would help Afghanistan's economic growth significantly, eventually leading to independence from foreign aid.
Though the president of Afghanistan seems to be taking steps in the right direction to solve the issues, the Afghan government has not expressed urgency regarding the matter. Danger to natural resources in Afghanistan is amplified with the happenings in Badakhshan.
President Ashraf Ghani understands the dangers of this resource and wants to act. In May 2016 the government announced the steps they will be taking to resolve conflict, over the mines. Though many of the proposed solutions will be helpful, the Afghan government still has a long way to go. Until then, violence in Afghanistan stays prominent while the lapis lazuli becomes scarce all around the world.
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The Gem Hunters Corporation was an idea conceived by Gary W. Bowersox during his over thirty years of promoting gem shows on the road. With this new internet store, gem hunters and buyers can explore and purchase inventory on line.