Welcome, October, and your birthstone the Tourmaline. Today we know October as the tenth month of the "modern" Julian and Gregorian calendars. But it wasn't always this way. In the period of the Roman Empire (which straddled the lifetime of Christ), October was the eighth month—made apparent by October's root word, "Octo" (which means "Eight"). Interestingly, in France, Octobre is sometimes abbreviated as "8bre."
October's birthstone, the Tourmaline, is a semi-precious gemstone, a "crystalline boron silicate mineral." It can be infused with traces of a wide variety of different metallic elements—each of which results in a different color possibility. Thus, tourmaline can be mined in many different colors: black, brown, and every color of the rainbow (red through violet) and even bi-colored variations. Interestingly, tourmalines have magnetic properties (when iron is present) that affects black the most and red the least. Tourmalines were first mined in South India and Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka), and were a valuable curiosity imported to Europe by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th Century. Today, Tourmalines are also mined in North America, South America and Africa.
The Art Deco ceramic pot, shown above, was made by Roseville in the 1930's and is dressed in the mottled blue version of their "Tourmaline" glaze. Like the actual gemstone, the Tourmaline glaze comes in a variety of color options. The bowl's form is interesting, too. It is inspired by Native American Navajo ceramics design. Combined with the glaze (reminiscent of turquoise), this pot seems to present a Southwestern aesthetic sensibility. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248