Opal is considered the birthstone for people born in October or under the signs of Scorpio and Libra along with pink tourmaline. The gemstone associated with celebration of the 14th year of marriage, the word opal is believed to come from the Sanskrit word “upala” – which means precious stone. It may also be related to the Greek word “Opallios” which means to see a change of colour.
Opals have an extremely long history and there are many myths and legends associated with this beautiful gemstone.
In medieval times, it is said that young blond women wanted necklaces made of opals to guarantee their hair would not fade or darken. Great trick – and would definitely cut down on the hair colour appointments required.
Some myths hold that opals can make the wearer invisible.
As a result, opals were sometimes called “patronus forum” – patron of thieves. One myth says the opal needed to be wrapped in a bay leaf in order to confer the power of invisibility. Sort of like “The Cloak of Invisibility” in the Harry Potter stories!
Opals are a symbol of fidelity and assurance and are associated with religious prayer.
In times gone by, opals were believed to provide immunity from disease and to increase the powers of both the eyes and the mind. Apparently, the more red and green hues the opal displayed, the more powerful medicinal effects were in effect.
In the Middle Ages, people believed that the opal possessed all the virtues of each gemstone whose colour was represented in an opal’s colour specrum and thus brought great luck to the wearer.
If you’ve heard that opals bring bad luck, be aware this is all Sir Walter Scott’s fault!
He wrote a bestselling novel – Anne of Geuerstein – that portrayed a woman – Lady Hermione – falsely accused of being a demon. Lady Hermione dies shortly after a drop of holy water falls on her opal and destroys the colour of the stone.
Sir Walter Scott was a wildly popular author at that time and people erroneously believed that he was warning that opals bring bad luck. Believe it or not, this ridiculous story succeeded in destroying the European opal market for almost 50 year for no good reason, whatsoever.
On the other hand, Queen Victoria laughed at the superstition, and as each of her daughters married, she gave them opals as wedding gifts. In Asia, opal is viewed as a symbol of hope.
Opals are said to amplify your traits – good or bad!
They are thought to bring your characteristics to the surface and help to enhance self worth, confidence and self-esteem, helping you to realize your full potential.
Said to bring lightness and spontaneity to the wearer, opals are also said to help to stimulate original thought and creativity, encourage artistic interests and helps you to access your true self. Altogether a rather karmic stone, opals help you to demonstrate positive emotions.
Remember the Holiday Gift Giving Season is fast upon us. Shop Zawadee for unique and interesting gift ideas for all your friends and family. An opal would make a memorable gift!
Some Famous Opals
- The Olympic Australis, the world’s largest and most valuable gem opal
- The Andamooka Opal, presented to Queen Elizabeth II, also known as the Queen’s Opal
- The Addyman Plesiosaur from Andamooka, “the finest known opalised skeleton on Earth”
- The Burning of Troy, the now-lost opal presented to Joséphine de Beauharnais by Napoleon I of France and the first named opal
- The Flame Queen Opal
- The Halley’s Comet Opal, the world’s largest uncut black opal
- Although the clock faces above the information stand in Grand Central Terminal Manhattan, New York, are often said to be opal, they are in fact opalescent glass
- The Roebling Opal, Smithsonian Institution
- The Galaxy Opal, listed as the “World’s Largest Polished Opal” in the 1992 Guinness Book of Records