October Birthstone: Opal

I apologize for the delay in my monthly birthstone report, but I just returned from a family vacation at the beach where the Internet was spotty, to say the least. (Did you see any of my beach pix on Instagram?) I was just forced to take some time off the computer. ūüėČ But I’ve just returned, and the writing resumes.

Now I must say that opals have been and continue to be one of my favorites stones. The only downside I’ve discovered over the years is that they are quite fragile, so the opal eternity band I once purchased quickly had two stones break. I find them better suited to rings with the opal featured on the top, as well as in earrings, necklaces and bracelets, of course.

Opals come in a wide range of colors, from white to orange to green and more. There are also many different varieties. Some you may have heard of are Peruvian, Black, Boulder and Fire. (If you’d like to read more about the different types, you’ll enjoy this detailed article I found on CrystalVaults.com) The¬†name opal comes from the Sanskrit word “upala” which translates to precious stone. Sometimes referred to as the “eye stone,” opals are known for inspiration, hope and optimism. They are purported to aid with:

-inspiring love and passion
-centering the mind
-protection from negative energy

I like it! And I also like so many of the stunning pieces of opal jewelry I found this month. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites.

Katherine Jetter Opal Corner Ring

Katherine Jetter Opal Corner Ring
Jane Taylor Boulder Opal and Diamond Bracelet

jane taylor boulder opal and diamond bracelet
Pippa Small Fire Opal Eleven Stone Pendant

pippa small fire opal eleven stone pendant
Communion by Joy Warrior of Life Opal Ring

communion by joy warrior of life ring
Variance Australian Opal earrings

variance austrailian opal earrings
Nan Fusco Australian Boulder Opal and Diamond Necklace

nan fusco australian boulder opal with diamonds
Brooke Gregson Diamond Band Boulder Opal Cuff Bracelet

brooke gregson diamond band boulder opal cuff bracelet

Peppina Fire Opal Ring

peppina fire opal ring
Misa Jewelry Compass Earrings (They come in 4 different stones)

misa jewelry compass earrings
Irene Neuwirth Opal Necklace

irene neuwirth opal necklace
Elizabeth Bell Jewelry Ammonite and Opal Cuff

elizabeth bell jewelry ammonite and opal cuff
I actually had to call “time” and stop searching, or this list would be endless. And…in case you didn’t know, October has TWO birthstones. While opal is the one traditionally associated¬†with the month, tourmaline is also an October birthstone. Who knew?!

Hutchinson @ Marin Country Mart

I always make it a point to visit the Brentwood Country Mart in southern California when I’m down there — love the cozy layout and the variety of stores, including jewelry gems Broken English and Pippa Small. When the Marin Country Mart opened in Larkpsur, I certainly made it a point to visit. Though I must say, in it’s infancy, there were still many open storefronts and NO jewelry to mention. Girl, this has all changed¬†with¬†the opening of¬†Hutchinson Fine Jewelry¬†at the end of 2014. This now makes stopping at the Mart a must when I’m up in Marin.

hutchinson fine jewelry marin
As I entered this jewel box of a store, I was stuck by the stunning display, with three walls of glass-fronted vignettes, representing over 20 different fine jewelry designers. (Note to self: when assisting clients design their new closets, keep this idea in mind!)

hutchinson fine jewelry marin
Manager Kellie Phinney was very generous in showing me around and letting me play with all the jewels. She told me that the owners, Kary Chendo and Miranda Abrams, choose lines that are utterly unique in their own way. “They want the jewelry to be loved and worn every day, and then passed down.” My philosophy exactly!

I was amped to see they carry The Woods, who I’ve desperately missed seeing ever since Carrots closed in San Francisco. There was a magnetic pull to this mother-of-pearl necklace on a silver and pave diamond chain.

the woods fine jewelry necklace
Hutchinson is also one of the few places to represent Carolina Bucci. She weaves magic with gold and silk on a loom from the 1800’s. Take a gander at these necklaces — the detail is amazing.

caroline bucci necklaces
caroline bucci necklaces
I tried on this wide bracelet, and it felt like buttah on my wrist, without the calories!

carolina bucci bracelet
Monique Pean is always one of my faves, both for her designs and her environmental consciousness. How can you go wrong with fossilzed wooly mammoth scrimshaw and diamonds? (Once again, if I had a bottomless wallet…this would be mine.)

monique pean ring
Pippa Small is right up there at the top of ethical designers as well. She hand selects each stone she uses, designs around their natural beauty, and uses clean gold, which is, “Gold mined without impacting the environment, respecting labor rights and often produced by community cooperatives.” Brava.

pippa small earrings
I was also very excited to see Bay Area local, Susie Fox, glittering in the cases. This double drop ball pendant necklace with cognac diamonds is what I would describe as subtle luxury.

susie fox necklace
I know the collection at Hutchinson is only going to grow, so I will make it a point to stop in more often. Have you visited yet? Do tell!