Tourmaline is the althernative birthstone for October, along with the opal. The stone was first discovered by Dutch traders off the West Coast of Italy in the late 1600's or early 1700's. The name tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese term “turmali,” which was the name given to all colored crystals on the island of Sri Lanka at that time. This all inclusive name indicates the inability of ancient gem dealers to differentiate tourmaline from other stones. In fact, at one time in history, pink and red tourmaline were thought to be rubies. Pink tourmaline tends to be pinker in color than ruby. However, their similarities in appearance are so strong that the stones in the Russian crown jewels believed to be rubies for centuries, are now thought to be tourmalines.