The Virgin Opal

Opal is not known to be a very expensive gemstone, but this beauty broke the ceiling and then some. Opal, a valuable stone that forms out of silica and of course, glows with an astonishing array of colors that you’re bound to love. It truly is a beautiful stone, but have you seen the Virgin Rainbow Opal? If you haven’t you’ll be glad to know that it’s the most glorious of Opals; the finest and certainly the priciest Opal in the world. 

Perhaps the biggest highlight of this Opal is that it glows in the dark. The darkness of the night has nothing on this glorious rock; in fact, the Virgin Rainbow Opal tends to be more vibrant even in the darkest of rooms. It is simply amazing.

So where does the Virgin Rainbow Opal come from?

Well, you might not believe this but the Virgin Rainbow was unearthed in Coober Pedy, Australia. It was found by a man named John Dunstan who also features in the Outback Opal Hunters TV show. For a stone that comes with such beauty and magnificence, one would expect it to be discovered in a place that reflects its vivid and sparkly nature.

The Virgin Rainbow was found in an area that could be likened to a desolate desert that has been laid waste by countless years of earth-scorching heat. It’s however important to point out that Coober Pedy was initially home to marine dinosaurs including the present-day cuttlefish’s ancestor. For those who might know, the charming Virgin Rainbow Opal was formed and discovered inside the skeleton of the ancient cuttlefish known as a Belemnite.

What is the Value of the Virgin Rainbow?

The Virgin Rainbow Opal is worth over $1 million and is now owned by the South Australian Museum in Adelaide. If you ever get the chance to visit the museum this Opal is a must see.

Halley’s Comet Opal

“Halley’s Comet”, is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest uncut black opal. The massive stone was found by a group of opal miners on the Leaning Tree Claim at Lightning Ridge known as “The Lunatic Hill Syndicate” about the time “Halley’s Comet” appeared in Australian skies. This Opal comes from the 3-mile Black Opal feel of lightning Ridge Australia” known as the best quality Black Opal gemstones internationally. It weighs 1982.5 carats and measures 100 x 66 x 63 mm, or 4 x 2-5/8 x 2-1/2 in.

Halley’s Comet was for sale in 2005 for AUD$1.2 million which is USD$854,400. The gem has a thick gem quality green and green/orange color bar and is the largest gem to be found at Lightning Ridge to date. It is the third largest gem grade black opal ever recorded, the largest one extant, and the largest specimen ever found in its region. The Halley’s Comet Opal is a very fine specimen, with few flaws or blemishes and a large green and orange 1.6 cm (0.63 in) thick color bar which goes through the opal.

The Andamooka Opal

The Queen’s extensive post-Coronation tour of 1953-54 yielded several jewels for her collection. The South Australian government wanted to present their new Queen with a stone their region was known for, the opal, and set about finding the best example around. The chosen gem came from the Andamooka Opal Fields and had been found in 1949. Known simply as the Andamooka Opal, it is thought to be the finest opal ever discovered there and is praised both for the intensity of its colors and for its overall size.

The cutting and polishing were completed by John Altmaan, and the final stone weighs a whopping 203 carats. Adelaide company Wendts Limited set it into an ornate scrolled necklace made of diamonds set in 18 carat palladium and created a pair of matching earrings, each with an opal pendant. The demi-parure was presented to the Queen in Adelaide in March 1954 on behalf of the people of South Australia.

The Queen gave the necklace a courtesy outing, if you will, during the same trip, but it seems to have been retired to the vault after that. The jewels she wears on a regular basis don’t indicate any particular love on her part for opal, so the fact that she neglects to use this set isn’t a huge surprise. But that said – I personally love a statement necklace, and I’d love to see someone new give this one a go.

Your Spooky List of Things to do This Weekend

Find the perfect things to do in Houston this weekend with our Houston Weekend Guide for Friday, October 19 to Sunday, October 21, 2018. 

Support a local charity at one of many ritzy galas; tour a slew of homes designed by innovative architects; bust a gut at a hilarious show by comedian Anjelah Johnson, Kevin Hart, Patton Oswalt, or Neal Brennan; dress up and head to the opera for the company’s first show of the season; get spooky at a Halloween festival in The Heights and more.  

Check below to find great things happening around Houston this weekend, from Friday, October 19 to Sunday, October 21, 2018.

Things to Do All Weekend

·         Comic Anjelah Johnson: More of Me Tour at Houston Improv | Daily – Houston Improv welcomes stand-up comedian, actress, and internet sensation Anjelah Johnson to entertain audiences with multiple shows on her “More of Me” tour. Tickets start at $40. Showtimes vary.

·         The Catastrophic Theatre presents Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class at MATCH | Daily – See the opening performance of Catastrophic Theatre’s 2018 to 2019 season as they present Curse of the Starving Class, a harrowing stage play by Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard. Tickets start at $10. Showtimes vary.

·         The Return of Sherlock Holmes at Chelsea Market | Daily – Take a seat for Classical Theatre Company’s production of The Return of Sherlock Holmes, a new take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective stories, with added emphasis on the story of Holmes’ trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson. Tickets start at $25. Showtimes vary.

·         The Importance of Eating Earnest at Studio 101 | Thursday to Saturday Check out a modern, zombie-focused twist on Oscar Wilde’s classic, The Importance of Being Earnest, when Cool Man Running Productions presents its performance of The Importance of Eating Earnest at Studio 101. Tickets are $25. 8pm nightly.

·         Kevin Hart at Toyota Center | Friday and Saturday Catch a comedy show by the beloved comedian and star of multiple blockbuster hits, Kevin Hart, as Toyota Center presents “The Kevin Hart Irresponsible Tour”. Tickets start at $49.50. 7pm both nights.

·         Splendid China XIII at Miller Outdoor Theatre | Friday and Saturday | FREE Experience an evening of Chinese song and dance when some of China’s top dance companies team up with Houston’s Dance of Asian America in Splendid China XIII at Miller Outdoor Theatre. 7:30pm both nights.

·         Oktoberfest Celebrations Around Greater Houston | Friday to Sunday – Every year brings more and more Oktoberfest celebrations to Houston. With many celebrations around the city, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to hoist a brew. Locations, dates, and times vary.

·         Houston Grand Opera presents The Flying Dutchman at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts | Friday and Sunday See the opening show of Houston Grand Opera’s 2018 to 2019 season with a dramatic performance of the haunting love story, The Flying Dutchman, at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets start at $25. Times vary.

·         Love and Make’s Candle Making Workshop in Rice Village | Friday to Sunday The popular candle making workshop continues into the fall and into the buildup to holiday season. It’s a good fit for dates, girls’ day out, and others. BYOB encouraged. $45. Times vary.

·         Wings Over Houston at Ellington Airport | Saturday and Sunday Watch vintage, World War II aircraft soar across the sky in the 34th annual Wings Over Houston showcase at Ellington Airport. This year’s 2-day show includes a kids area, food and drink vendors, and a variety of aircraft entertainment. $40. 8am to 6pm both days.

·         Brick Fest Live: LEGO Fan Experience at NRG Center | Saturday and Sunday – Roll up your sleeves and spend a day or an afternoon playing with more than 1 million LEGO bricks, building at interactive stations, and shopping from specialized LEGO vendors. $17.50 to $39.50. 10am to 5pm both days.

·         Holiday of Dreams Fall Home Tour & Shopping at Woodridge Forest | FREE – Travel through the seasons of fall in five tastefully decorated model homes with themes like “It’s All About Halloween” and “Winter Elegance.” Holiday décor by Flowers of Kingwood is available for sale, and visitors can register to win $500 in décor or design services, and more. Noon to 5pm.

·         Texas Home & Garden Show at NRG Center | Saturday and Sunday For forty years, the Texas Home & Garden Show has offered its visitors expert advice, money-saving tips, remodeling ideas, and landscape features, and this year is no different. Head to NRG Center for all things home and garden when NRG Center hosts the two-day show. $10. Hours vary.

·         2018 Annual Home Tour Houses and Architects at AIA Houston | Saturday and Sunday Take a self-guided tour through seven architect-designed homes that were chosen by industry experts to represent the best of the best in the 2018 Annual Home Tour at AIA Houston. Tickets start at $10. Noon both days.

·         21st Annual Artober Fest in Downtown Galveston | Saturday and Sunday Presented by The Grand 1894 Opera House, this annual fall festival transforms downtown Galveston into a gallery of colorful artwork in 14 different mediums. The showcase features more than 100 artists from across the country, with more than 7,500 attendees gathering to view their work. $5. Hours vary.

·         Bike Around the Bay in Galveston | Saturday and Sunday Hop on a bike and cruise 170 miles around Galveston Bay in this annual biking event, which kicks off at Plantgistix in Baytown. Bikers can choose to participate for one or both days. Tickets start at $175. 7:30am to 6pm both days.

Friday, October 19, 2018

·         Faith in Practice 2018 Gala at Hilton Americas-Houston – Bid on high-dollar auction items like a week-long vacation in Telluride, an autographed Texans football helmet, or a five-course dinner at Amalfi Ristorante Italiano during the Faith in Practice 2018 Gala at Hilton Americas-Houston. Proceeds from the gala will go toward the medical, dental, and surgical care that Faith In Practice provides in Guatemala. Tickets start at $225. 5:30pm.

·         Cultivated Cocktails at Southside Place Community Garden – Sip aperitivo cocktails while munching on hors-d’oeuvres and gourmet pizza when Southside Community Garden hosts an evening of Cultivated Cocktails. During the event, three mixologists will craft unique cocktails with an Italian twist using fresh ingredients, with one winner named at the end of the night. $75. 6pm to 9pm.

·         Comedian Neal Brennan at House of Blues – Laugh it up as the three-time Emmy-nominated writer, director, producer, and comedian, Neal Brennan, takes the mic at Houston of Blues Houston. Tickets start at $29. 6:30pm.

·         Buxton at The Heights Theater – Celebrate the long-awaited release of Stay Out Late, an Americana album by local musicians Buxton, at The Heights Theater. Tickets start at $18. 7pm.

·         Cole Swindell & Dustin Lynch in Concert at Smart Financial Centre – Head to Smart Financial Centre for a country concert when Cole Swindell brings his “Reason To Drink… Another” tour to Houston. Dustin Lynch opens the show. Tickets start at $39.75. 8pm.

·         MFAH Mixed Media – MFAH Mixed Media goes across the pond for a Brit-inspired bash that celebrates Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits from Holbein to Warhol. Headlining this month’s event is the acclaimed London-born Judge Jules, who brings irresistible trance and incomparable dance music to MFAH along with local openers DJ Sun and DJ Little Martin. Tickets are $25; $22 for MFAH members. 8pm to midnight.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

·         Child Advocates Superhero Run in CityCentre – Bust out your spandex, mask, and cape, and run or walk a 5K at the annual Child Advocates Superhero Run, which raises funds to fight child abuse. Held at CityCentre, the race will be followed by a celebration with shopping, food, entertainment, inflatables, a costume contest, and family-friendly activities. Tickets start at $15. 7am.

·         35th Annual Texian Market Days Festival at George Ranch Historic Park – Discover more than 150 years’ worth of history at the 35th Annual Texian Market Days in George Ranch Historic Park. The family-friendly festival offers hands-on activities, battle re-enactments, live entertainment, costumed interpreters, historic home tours, games, vintage vehicles, food, and craft vendors. Tickets start at $10. 9am to 5pm.

·         Autism Speaks Walk Houston at Lynn Eusan Park | FREE – Raise awareness and contribute to a great cause at the Autism Speaks Walk in Lynn Eusan Park. Donations from the walk go toward innovative research and critical lifelong supports and services that benefit people with autism. 9am.

·         ArBOOretum at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center – Lead your family through a unique trick-or-treating nature trail at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. The experience also includes a petting zoo, face-painting, pony rides, food trucks, and a pumpkin-decorating station. Tickets start at $15. 10am to 4pm.

·         Fashion Fights Trafficking at City Centre – Spend Saturday enjoying brunch, a complimentary cocktail, personal styling, and high-end shopping for a great cause at Fashion Fights Trafficking, a Conscious Couture event that showcases the latest fashions to raise money to end human trafficking. Tickets start at $25. 9am to 5pm.

·         East End Street Fest on Navigation Esplanade | FREE – Experience the rich culture of Houston’s East End with live entertainment on multiple stages, a diverse selection of food, shopping, and art, all available at East End Street Fest on Navigation Esplanade. Noon to 10pm.

·         Community Day at CAMH | FREE – Contemplate the prison system as you explore the latest exhibit at CAMH, Walls Turned Sideways: Artists Confront the Justice System, when the center opens its doors for an activity-filled community day. 2pm to 5pm.

·         Love & Make’s Bath Bomb Making Workshop in Rice Village– Create your own luxurious, scented bath bomb at this DIY workshop, hosted by Love & Make in Rice Village. The family-friendly activity allows crafters to incorporate essential oils and experiment with fun colors. $45. 3pm.

·         The Search for Lafitte’s Gold Festival in La Porte | FREE – Strike gold as you scour the streets of La Porte, along with live music, entertainment, a pirate-themed costume contest, and food and drink vendors during the family-friendly Search for Lafitte’s Gold street festival in Five Points Plaza. You can also stop by an airbrush tattoo artist, ride down inflatable slides, and partake in other pirate-themed activities. 4pm to 9pm.

·         Houston Halloween Fest in The Heights – Have a scary good time at Houston Halloween Fest in The Heights, which will feature a musical performance by the Spazmatics, food trucks, a beer garden, a kids zone, and shopping from local vendors. $10. 5pm to 10pm.

·         Holiday Shopping Card Celebration in Highland Village | FREE – Get a head start on holiday shopping at Highland Village’s third annual Holiday Shopping Card Celebration, where you can enjoy costumed characters, live music, and fireworks show to celebrate the release of this year’s discount card. The $75 card offers shoppers a 20% discount at more than 600 stores around Houston and benefits the American Cancer Society. 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

·         Flea by Night at Discovery Green | No Cover – Shop for everything from art to furniture and collectibles from a variety of vendors while enjoying live music and food trucks during Discovery Green’s Flea by Night. 6pm to 10pm.

·         Monster Jam at NRG Center – Get revved up for a high-energy showcase of massive trucks racing, ramming, and crushing their way through NRG Center. Tickets start at $15. 7pm.

·         Greens Bayou Gala at Hilton Houston North – Join the Greens Bayou Coalition for an evening of food, drink, dancing, and entertainment at the Inaugural Greens Bayou Gala. Guests can also participate in a silent auction. Tickets start at $150. 7pm.

·         Goosebumps Movie Screening at Discovery Green | FREE – Get in the Halloween spirit with a free, outdoor screening of Goosebumps, the 2015 film inspired by the Nickelodeon TV show that spooked ‘90s kids across the country. 7:30pm to 10pm.

·         Patton Oswalt at Revention Music Center – Burst out laughing when actor, comedian, and writer Patton Oswalt brings his Grammy-nominated stand-up show to Revention Music Center. Tickets start at $39. 8pm.

·         Carnavalloween: Brazilian Halloween Carnival at Fitzgerald’s Catch a performance by one of Brazil’s most renowned samba singers, Neguinho de Beija-Flor, in his first ever Texas performance. Dancing and Brazilian costumes are encouraged. $30. 9pm.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

·         Houston’s Wedding Showcase at NRG Center – Brides-to-be can gather their crew and head to NRG Center for a full day of wedding inspiration, planning advice, and vendors at Houston’s Wedding Showcase. Expect bridal fashion shows, cake tastings, planning tips, a ring selfie station, giveaways and more. $10. 10am to 4pm.

·         Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders at BBVA Compass Stadium – Cheer on the Dynamo as they play the Sounders in a home game at BBVA Compass Stadium. Tickets start at $29. 4pm.

·         Hendricks Gin Cup at Houston Polo Club – Kick back with a gin and tonic while watching an exciting round of polo as Hendricks gin teams up with Houston Polo Club for the Hendricks Gin Cup. You can also enjoy a flamenco guitar performance, a halftime champagne divot stomp, the McDugald Steele pony hops, and a special trophy presentation. Tickets start at $15. 4pm.

·         Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in Concert at Smart Financial Centre – Get nostalgic at a concert by the ‘60s crooner and his trusty band, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, when they stop for a show in Houston’s Smart Financial Centre. Tickets start at $65. 7pm.

·         World of Dance Live at Revention Music Center – Marvel at the talented dancers of Jennifer Lopez’s award-winning TV show, World of Dance, when the touring group struts their stuff at Revention Music Center. Tickets start at $29. 8pm.

The Underappreciated Gemstone: Opal

Opals are the underappreciated gems of the precious stone world. And it is no wonder opal jewelry is so popular and has been sought after for thousands of years. This iridescent, rainbow-hued gemstone is beautiful.
Throughout history, many stories and superstitions have followed opals, including being associated with bad luck (due to Sir Walter Scott’s novel Anne of Geierstein) to having powers of invisibility.
Modern sources say that opal enhances imagination, creativity, and memory and decreases confusion. It is also said to protect the wearer when in dangerous places. Pretty neat, huh? So, get yourself some opal jewelry and shine on!

The Many Meanings Of The Color of Tourmaline

While geologists appreciate tourmaline for its mineral makeup, others believe that the gemstone offers both physical and mental healing properties. One feature that distinguishes tourmaline from other minerals is its three-sided prisms, as well as its vertical striations. Metaphysically, this is considered to create strong channels of energy for clearing and purification, as well as offer protection.

The semi-precious stone tourmaline grows in a number of colors, ranging from black to blue to pink. Although the differences in colors can be explained by the stone’s mineral compositions, some believe that tourmaline meaning and uses of the different colors can vary from hue to hue.

Tourmaline Meaning and Uses of Different Colors

In countries from India to Australia, tourmaline has been thought to be able to protect and heal. Specific colors of tourmaline are thought to have their own special properties:

Black (Schori): Black tourmaline—which can, in reality, range from dark blue to dark brown to true black—is thought to be a grounding stone that provides a connection between the Earth and the human spirit. It is supposed to help people find a sense of self-confidence, see the world more clearly, and feel empowered during difficult circumstances. Ancient magicians reportedly used the stone to protect themselves from “Earth demons,” and it’s still thought to have protective properties.

Pink (Rubellite): Pink tourmaline can vary from pale pink to deep red, but all ranges of the hue are meant to relate to matters of the heart. The pink stone is supposed to encourage compassion and gentleness, as well as link love and spirituality. One variation of pink tourmaline is referred to as watermelon tourmaline because it has a pink center surrounded by an outer green “rind.” This variation is said to link the emotions of the pink center to the physical being of the outer green rock, bringing joy to a person’s life and relationships.

Purple (Siberite): Purple tourmaline is all about serene energy. The stone is reported to ground and protect you, as well as help you deeply relax. With that, siberite helps release emotional attachments, so you can look at the world with a nonjudgmental view. Additionally, some use purple tourmaline’s physical properties to reduce headaches and migraines.

Light blue/blue-green (Indicolite): Indicolite stems from the word “indigo,” and the blue or aqua-green color of this tourmaline represents the tranquility of water. Blue tourmaline is meant to represent clear, honest communication and the ability to speak from the heart. It also is supposed to encourage an open mind and embrace of truth and ethics.

Green (Verdilite): Green tourmaline is supposedly the most healing of all the crystals of the physical heart. It’s the masculine counterpart to feminine pink tourmaline, and it’s meant to boost courage, strength, stamina, and vitality. The color can range from pale green to shades of olive.

Brown (Dravite): Ranging from dark yellow to dark brown, dravite is supposed to be a grounding influence because of its natural, earthy hue. The stone restores emotional balance and promotes understanding while relieving worrying and creating a feeling of calm. In general, dravite is supposed to transform negative energy into positive.

Multicolored (Liddicoatite): A rare version of tourmaline, liddicoatite has triangular cross-sections of color. It can be pink, red, green brown or blue, or a combination of all. It’s believed to align mental processes, encourage self-confidence, promote understanding and provide insight into conflicts.



The Steamboat Tourmaline

In 1907 the famous Steamboat Tourmaline was unearthed by Frank Barlow Schuyler in San Diego County in a rich tourmaline-bearing pocket zone in the mine which was named the Tourmaline King. It was then sold by Schuyler to Washington A. Roebling and it is now housed at the Smithsonian Institution.

Although the Steamboat Tourmaline is well known, few people are aware of its discovering in California by Schuyler. Schuyler was born on August 20, 1872 in Falls City, Nebraska. Schuyler took up the same work as his father, a machinist and manufacturer of mechanical tools and married his wife Ella S. Libby in San Luis Rey, California in November of 1894. Then in 1897, their only son Gerald Barlow Schuyler was born.

Schuyler teamed up with D.G. Harrington of Oceanside, California in March of 1903. The pair was exploring the Pala Chief Mountains in San Diego County for pegmatites. During their exploration, they stumbled upon a huge tourmaline deposit which they named the Tourmaline King Mine. Schuyler and Harrington began to construct an underground drift into the pegmatite directly under their surface discovery in 1904. About 60 feet underground and a few years later, the team found a gigantic tourmaline crystal-filled pocket. It extended almost 30 feet in length, about 10 feet wide and was uninterrupted for about 30 feet down dip. This single zone produced around 8 tons of pink tourmaline. The bulk of this discovery was sold to the Imperial Chinese government for a considerable price of $187.50 per pound.

Schuyler presented and sold his tourmaline gems that he had extracted from the Tourmaline King Mine, at the 1915 Panama Pacific international Exposition in San Francisco. His slogan during the exposition was “wear a tourmaline for luck”. Schuyler also sold and presented other specimens that he had extracted from the Tourmaline King Mine in San Diego County at the exposition.

Robert Max Wilke, a California mineral dealer, purchased the patent grant deed from Schuyler in 1916 for rights to the Tourmaline King Mine so he could work it himself. This purchase by Wilke is the end of Schuyler’s involvement with the Tourmaline King Mine. Wilke went on to discover large amounts of lepidolite, morganite, tourmaline and kunzite at the mine. Wilke eventually abandoned the Tourmaline King Mine in 1922.

The amazing Steamboat Tourmaline is housed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. The Steamboat Tourmaline is one of the best tourmaline specimens from the Tourmaline King Mine in San Diego, California.

What to Know About Tourmaline

Tourmaline is the official birthstone for October as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It also the traditional birthstone for October, the stone for the Zodiac sign of Leo, and the accepted gem for the 8th wedding anniversary.

The name Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) word tura mali which translates as the stone of mixed colors. These stones are 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs’ scale of hardness.

Tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors from black to bluish-black, dark brown, yellow, medium brown, blue to neon blue, lime to dark forest green, red and reddish purple, yellow, pink, and colorless.

Bi-colored and multicolored tourmaline may be green at one end and pink at the other, watermelon tourmaline is green on the outside and pink on the inside. Some stones are dichroic meaning they appear to change color when viewed from different angles.

The most expensive tourmalines are the blue indicolite, green verdelite and pink rubellite.

Cat’s Eye Tourmaline exhibits a “cat’s eye” effect similar to what is commonly seen in tiger’s eye cabochons. Chrome Tourmaline is colored by chromium resulting in a beautiful green stone that is often confused with emerald or the tsavorite garnet. Indicolite is a dark blueish black stone. The Paraiba tourmaline is a bright neon-blue and Rubellite is a deep reddish-purple stone. Schorl is the name given to black tourmalines which are the most commonly found tourmalines.

Tourmalines are mined everywhere in the world including Africa, Afghanistan, Africa, Australia, Brazil, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Siberia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the USA, and Zimbabwe.

Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: 

Ancient legend says that tourmaline is found in all colors because it traveled along a rainbow and gathered all of the rainbow’s colors.

Tourmaline is believed to strengthen the body and spirit, especially the nervous system, blood, and lymph’s. It is also thought to inspire creativity and was used extensively as a talisman by artists and writers.

Your Other October Birthstone: Tourmaline

Somewhere in Brazil in the 1500s, a Spanish conquistador washed the dirt from a green tourmaline crystal and confused the vibrant gem with emerald. His confusion lived on until scientists recognized tourmaline as a distinct mineral species in the 1800s. The confusion about the stone’s identity is even reflected in its name, which comes from toramalli, which means “mixed gems” in Sinhalese (a language of Sri Lanka). It’s a term Dutch merchants applied to the multicolored, water-worn pebbles that miners found in the gem gravels of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

It’s easy to understand why people so easily confuse tourmaline with other gems: Very few gems match tourmaline’s dazzling range of colors. From rich reds to pastel pinks and peach colors, intense emerald greens to vivid yellows and deep blues, the breadth of this gem’s color range is unrivalled. Brazilian discoveries in the 1980s and 1990s heightened tourmaline’s appeal by bringing intense new hues to the marketplace.

People have probably used tourmaline as a gem for centuries, but until the development of modern mineralogy, they identified it as some other stone (ruby, sapphire, emerald, and so forth) based on its coloring.

One of the earliest reports of tourmaline in California was in 1892. In the late 1800s, tourmaline became known as an American gem through the efforts of Tiffany gemologist George F. Kunz. He wrote about the tourmaline deposits of Maine and California, and praised the stones they produced.

In spite of its American roots, tourmaline’s biggest market at the time was in China. Much of the pink and red tourmaline from San Diego County in California was shipped to China because the Chinese Dowager Empress Tz’u Hsi was especially fond of the color. There, craftsmen carved the tourmaline into snuff bottles and other pieces to be set in jewelry. San Diego County’s famed tourmaline mines include the Tourmaline Queen, Tourmaline King, Stewart, Pala Chief, and Himalaya.

The miners became so dependent on Chinese trade that when the Chinese government collapsed in 1912, the US tourmaline trade also collapsed. The Himalaya mine stopped producing large volumes of gemstones. Other mines in San Diego County, like the Stewart Lithia mine at Pala, still produce sporadic supplies of gem-quality tourmaline.

Your ‘Mama Mia’ List of Things to Do This Weekend

Find the perfect things to do in Houston this weekend with our Houston Weekend Guide for Friday, October 12 to Sunday, October 14, 2018. 

Attend a ritzy gala to raise funds for Texas’ animals and natural habitats, be a spectator during back-to-back polo matches, light a candle in honor of Mahatma Gandhi and his peaceful teachings, save room for pasta at the annual Italian Festival, spend quality time with the kiddos at KBR Kids Day and more.  

Check below to find great things happening around Houston this weekend, from Friday, October 12 to Sunday, October 14, 2018.

Things to Do All Weekend

·         40th Annual Houston Italian Festival | Daily Spend all weekend long stuffing your face with lasagna, spaghetti, and pizza at the fortieth annual Houston Italian Festival. Let your food settle while enjoying film screenings, kids’ cooking classes, Italian language classes, Carranza puppet shows, interactive sidewalk art, pasta-eating contests, grape stomps, and a bocce ball tournament. Admission ranges from free to $8. Times vary.

·         The Catastrophic Theatre presents Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class at MATCH | Daily – See the opening performance of Catastrophic Theatre’s 2018 to 2019 season as they present Curse of the Starving Class, a harrowing stage play by Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard, at MATCH. Tickets start at $10. Showtimes vary.

·         Gente de Teatro presents Cancún at MATCH | Daily – Catch a Spanish language comedy about two vacationing couples, whose tropical holiday doesn’t go as planned. English subtitles on Friday and Saturday only. $25. Times vary.

·         Exit Strategy at Rec Room | Thursday to Saturday – Take a seat for a comedic thriller that follows a group of students and teachers whose public high school will close at the end of the year. Tickets start at $30. Showtimes vary.

·         Annual Members Exhibit at The Watercolor Art Society-Houston | Thursday to Saturday | FREE – Explore an array of breathtaking watercolor art at the 49th Annual Members Exhibit at The Watercolor Art Society-Houston (WAS-H). The organization’s longest running event, the exhibit remains on view through October, showcasing the best-of-the-best from the organization’s ranks. 10am to 3pm each day.

·         Love and Make’s Candle Making Workshop in Rice Village | Friday and Saturday The popular candle making workshop continues into the fall and into the buildup to holiday season. It’s a good fit for dates, girls’ day out, and others. BYOB encouraged. $45. Times vary.

·         ComedySportz Match Family-Friendly Improv Show at CSz Arena | Friday and Saturday This family friendly, Whose Line Is It Anyway?-inspired improv show pits two teams against each other as they make up scenes, games, and songs based on audience input. $20. 8pm both nights.

·         Turkish Film Festival at MFAH | Friday to Sunday – Discover the world of Turkish cinema when the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston hosts its sixth Turkish Film Festival, featuring the winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Butterflies (Kelebekler,) along with five other notable films. $10. Showtimes vary.

·         10th Annual Houston Polish Harvest Festival in West Houston | Friday to Sunday – Experience Polish tradition mixed with modern entertainment during the three-day Polish Harvest Festival in West Houston. The festival will offer authentic Polish cuisine, Polish beer and wine, music and dance performances, a kids zone, shopping, and a silent auction. $5. Times vary.

·         Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival in Downtown Conroe | Friday to Sunday – Roll up your sleeves and chow down on loads of Cajun-flavored crawfish and other eats at this annual, family-friendly festival in Conroe. You can also expect live music, arts and crafts, a carnival, KidZone area, and a catfish pageant. Tickets start at $10.

·         Keep It Brassy 2 at Music Box Theater | Friday to Sunday – Tap your feet to a slew of classics from iconic bands, such as Chicago, Billy Joel, and Ray Charles, at this musical cabaret presented by Music Box Theatre. As the name suggests, the house band will be backed by a trumpet, saxophone, and trombone for extra, brassy flair. Tickets start at $29. 7:30pm every night.

·         Mr. Booker T. at the Door at Midtown Art Center | Friday to Sunday – Experience Houston’s first theatrical performance focused on the historical figure and iconic African American educator, Booker T. Washington, in Vincent Victoria’s world premiere of Mr. Booker T. at the Door at Midtown Art Center. Tickets start at $20. Showtimes vary.

·         47th Annual Bayou City Art Festival in Downtown | Saturday and Sunday – Admire the work of artists from across the country at the forty-seventh annual Bayou City Art Festival in Downtown Houston. The family-friendly festival attracts 20,000 visitors each year and features artwork from more than 300 artists in 19 mediums. $12. 10am to 6pm both days.

·         Gulf Coast International Dragon Boat Regatta | Saturday and Sunday | No Cover – Watch colorful dragon boats race across the water, propelled by teams of competitive paddlers at the Gulf Coast International Dragon Boat Regatta. In between races, you can enjoy cultural performances, food and drink vendors, and live music. 7am to 4pm both days.

·         Houston Symphony: Hocus Pocus Pops at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion | FREE – Get in the Halloween spirit at the family-friendly Hocus Pocus Pops, featuring the Houston Symphony at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. 7pm.

·         Dia de la Hispanidad at Miller Outdoor Theatre | FREE – Experience the magic of Argentinian music, dance, and culture as South American groups Alma Salveje Folklore Argentino and Grupo Sur perform in honor of Dia de la Hispanidad at Miller Outdoor Theatre. 7:30pm.

·         Blues and the Spanish Tinge: Aaron Diehl in Concert at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts Explore the early evolution of American piano and the creation of jazz when pianist Aaron Diehl plays a selection of music at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Expect to hear the works of Jimmy Yancey, George Gershwin, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and more. Tickets start at $42.50. 7:30pm.

·         The Book of Will at Main Street Theater Main Street Theatre presents Book of Will, a critically acclaimed stage play that follows Shakespeare’s friends as they attempt to preserve and compile the poet’s true works following his death. Tickets start at $10. 7:30pm.

·         Arctic Monkeys in Concert at Revention Music Center Jam out to hits like “Do I Wanna Know?” and “Fluorescent Adolescent” when alt-rock group Arctic Monkeys takes the stage at Revention Music Center. Mini Mansions will open the show. Tickets start at $79. 8pm.

·         Garbage in Concert at House of Blues Head to House of Blues as the Shirley Manson-fronted band, Garbage, celebrates the 20th anniversary of their second studio album, Version 2.0. The group will play the album in its entirety, including B-sides. Tickets start at $35. 8pm.

·         Stop, Drop & Roll Guinness World Record Attempt in League City | FREE – Watch history in the making as League City attempts to overtake the Guinness World Records title for the largest Stop, Drop, and Roll event, held on the field of the Clear Creek ISD Challenger Columbia Stadium. 8:45pm to 10pm.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

·         13th Annual Memorial Hermann 10 for Texas at Northshore Park Race through a 5K or 10-mile course at the thirteenth annual Memorial Hermann 10 for Texas run. Other runs include a 10-mile Wheelchair Division and the One 4 Texas Kids’ Fun Run, all followed by a post-race party with food, music, and family-friendly fun. Registration starts at $35. 7am.

·         Midtown in Motion at Bagby Park | FREE Get moving at this free workout class in Bagby Park. Led by instructor Roz Jones, the class incorporates High Intensity Interval Training, followed by a session of Yoga Flow. 9:30am.

·         10th Annual Korean Festival Houston at Discovery Green | No Cover – Celebrate Korean culture with authentic cuisine, music and dance performances, shopping, and interactive games at the tenth anniversary of Houston’s Korean Festival, held at Discovery Green. 10am to 7pm.

·         Texas Black Women’s Expo at NRG Center – Get inspired at the Texas Black Women’s Expo, where African American women come together to network, shop, learn, and browse a variety of fashion and artwork at NRG Center. Tickets start at $20. 10am to 7:30pm.

·         Candy Crawl Model Home Tour at Harmony in Spring | FREE – Make your way through 21 beautiful, candy-filled homes during the family-friendly Candy Crawl Model Home Tour at Harmony in Spring. Hosted by Johnson Development, the Halloween-themed tour also offers kettle corn, an inflatable maze, rock wall, a toddler train station, pumpkin decorating, and face painting. 11am to 2pm.

·         KBR Kids Day at Guadalupe Plaza Park | FREE – Treat the kids to a fun-filled day of hands-on activities during the twelfth annual KBR Kids Day at Guadalupe Plaza Park. In partnership with 20 non-profit organizations, the event will offer pontoon boat tours, local entertainment and performers, Dia de los Muertos face painters, balloon artists, a rock-climbing wall, and a Halloween parade. 11am to 3pm.

·         The Market at Sawyer Yards | No Cover – Shop a curated mix of artistic mediums with a focus on folk art, “maker is the seller,” and artisan crafts in The Market at Sawyer Yards. Hungry shoppers can dig into eats from a local food truck and listen to live tunes throughout the day. 11am to 5pm.

·         Rice Owls vs. UAB at Rice Stadium Cheer for the Rice University football team as they take on UAB at home. Tickets start at $20. Noon.

·         QS MBA World Tour at Houston Hilton Plaza | FREE with RSVP – Meet face-to-face with admissions directors from UT Austin, Rice, Texas Christian University, Emory, SMU Cox, Wash U-Olin, UCLA, and other top business schools. You can also get a free professional headshot for your LinkedIn profile, access to $7 million in scholarship funds, a resume review and more. 1:30pm to 6pm.

·         Taste of Tanglewood at Overture Tanglewood – Sip, sample, and purchase fine wines when Killer Vino hosts Taste of Tanglewood, a food and wine pairing event that features more than 70 wines from across the globe. $30. 3pm to 7pm.

·         Oktoberfest in Beaumont | No Cover – Whip out your lederhosen for the fourth annual Oktoberfest celebration in Beaumont, complete with live polka music, children’s activities, food trucks, face-painting, and a beer garden. Performers include The Royal Klobasneks, Paul Childers, Mayeux & Broussard, and TN Jett. 3pm to 8pm.

·         Hangar Bash at Lone Star Flight Museum – Chow down on award-winning barbecue while drinking cold beer from 12 regional breweries with a view of vintage historic aircrafts at the Lone Star Flight Museum’s Hangar Bash. $55. 4pm.

·         Art of Wining and Dining at Sugar Land Town Square Stroll through Sugar Land Town Square while sampling a variety of wines and dishes from participating restaurants at the Art of Wining and Dining event. Attendees can participate in an interactive performance by dueling pianists and shop a selection of vendors on site. Tickets start at $10. 4pm to 7pm.

·         Texas Tailgate Warrior at Lucky’s Pub West Team up with your drinking buddies to compete in the Texas Tailgate Warrior challenge at Lucky’s Pub West. The contest includes an obstacle course of five tailgating games (think beer pong, flip cup, and quarters) as well as open-play events that include cornhole, washers, and “roomba pong.” $20 per team. 5pm to 8pm.

·         A Night at Market Square at Market Square Park |  No Cover – Marvel at aerialists, contortionists, jugglers, and fire breathers when Cirque Mythos overtakes Market Square Park for this evening event. Pop-up performances and food and drink specials will be available in nearby restaurants and bars throughout the night. 6pm to 10pm.

·         Bayou City Music Series presents Jazz in the Tre with Jason Moran in Concert at Emancipation Park | FREE Acclaimed jazz pianist, composer, and Houston native, Jason Moran, headlines an all-ages, evening jazz concert in the Third Ward. Students from the HSPVA jazz program and Houston’s own Horace Grigsby open. 7pm to 9:30pm.

·         RBRM: Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, & Mike at Smart Financial Centre – Hear chart-topping hits by Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky & Mike, now known as “RBRM”, as they embark on a world tour that will stop in Smart Financial Centre. Jam out to hits like “My Prerogative,” “Every Little Step,” and “Rock Wit’cha.” Tickets start at $65. 8pm.

·         ‘Da Kink in my Hair at the Ensemble Theatre – Explore the stories of eight Black women in ‘Da Kink in my Hair, a musical stage play set in a Caribbean hair salon that’s owned by a West Indian hair stylist living in Toronto. Tickets start at $30. 8pm.

·         Lily Allen in Concert at House of Blues – Catch a concert by the British singer, songwriter, and actress, Lily Allen, when she takes the stage at House of Blues. Tickets start at $34. 8pm.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

·         USPA H. Ben Taub Memorial Cup at Houston Polo Club Head to Houston Polo Club for two polo matches, accompanied by live flamenco guitar music at the USPA H. Ben Taub Memorial Cup. Spectators can enjoy a champagne divot stomp at halftime, the McDugald Steele pony hops, and door prizes. Tickets start at $15. 4pm.

·         1,000 Lights for Peace at Miller Outdoor Theatre | FREE Promote peace at this celebratory event during Mahatma Gandhi Week, which teaches children the importance of the iconic peacemaker through essays, speech, poster, and debate contests, as well as field trips and storytelling. The evening will begin with a 5K walk for peace, followed by a cultural program and candle-lighting ceremony. 6pm.

·         Kinetic Ensemble presents Ocean’s Call at MATCH Take a seat for Ocean’s Call, Kinetic Ensemble’s opening performance of the season, featuring orchestral music inspired by the interaction between water and physical space. $25. 6pm.

·         Alice Cooper in Concert at White Oak Music Hall Rock out at White Oak Music Hall when heavy metal icon Alice Cooper performs in support of his 2017 release, Paranormal. Tickets start at $45. 6:30pm.

·         Houston Texans vs Buffalo Bills at NRG Stadium Watch the Houston Texans play the Buffalo Bills on their home turf at NRG. Tickets start at $38. 7pm.

·         Bob Dylan And His Band in Concert at Smart Financial Centre Don’t miss a performance by the legendary singer-songwriter of such influential songs as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “I Shall Be Released,” and “Forever Young,” when Bob Dylan and His Band take the stage at Smart Financial Centre. Tickets start at $59.50. 8pm.