Sunday’s Gem — Opal

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

You’d be hard pressed to find a gemstone more clothed in mystery and superstition than the fiery Opal, birthstone for those born during October.

Australian Opals in rainbow colors, thanks to http://www.jewellermagazine.com

Said to be bad luck to wear one, especially if it’s not your birthstone, Opals have been associated with the Black Plague, pestilence, and death. A novel by Sir Walter Scott in which the heroine’s Opal is touched by holy water and she dies is credited with crashing the Opal market! Adding to the poor Opal’s woes were rumors started by jealous diamond merchants that the stone was unlucky.

Of course, not everyone thinks of the Opal as evil. Early Romans considered it a token of hope, purity, and good luck. Queen Victoria loved Opals and gifted both her daughters with Opals on their wedding days. And how many Opal miners made their fortunes from this stunning stone?

Composed of hydrated silicon dioxide and containing no crystalline structure, Opal is more aptly termed a “mineraloid” rather than a mineral. Opal has a water content of between 3 and 21 percent by weight.

There are several different kinds of Opal, but for our purposes here, we’ll be talking about “Precious Opal,” or “Rainbow Opal,” the one that produces brilliant flashes of color when turned in the light. This phenomenom, called “play-of-color,” yields brilliant rainbow hues and contributes to the stone’s popularity.

The word Opal is believed to come from the Sanskrit upala, or “precious stone.” About 90 percent of the world’s precious Opals are mined in Australia.

Thanks to http://www.johnwallickjewelers.com for the photo of this stunning 8 carat Australian crystal Opal surrounded by diamonds. Price is only $4,880, too!

Metaphysical healers say Opal enhances creativity, imagination, and memory. Opal eases stress and depression, centering the mind and aiding in soothing dreams. Opal shields you from others’ negativity and strengthens your will to live.

Opal is believed to be beneficial for the eyes, skin, and hair, as well as regulating insulin production.

Softer than most gemstones (5.5 to 6 on the 1-10 Mohs scale), Opal is best used in jewelry that’s protected from impact, like earrings or pendants. Opals in rings should not be placed in a prong setting. Clean your Opal jewelry with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water. If not wearing it for awhile, store it in a sealed plastic bag with a damp piece of cotton so it won’t dry out and crack.

Note: The claims here aren’t meant to take the place of medical advice. They’re based on folklore and other sources, and likely “work” best if one’s belief is strong enough!

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11 thoughts on “Sunday’s Gem — Opal

  1. I’ve always thought opals to be among the prettiest gems – I had an opal ring once that looked like it had fire in it, but alas lost it years ago. sigh. 🔥💎🔥

    • Aw, what a shame about your ring, Virginia. I’ve never owned an Opal and don’t plan to. It’s not my birthstone, and I’m taking no chances on bad luck, ha!

  2. This is my birthstone, and I love it. I gave my mother a beautiful pair of opal earrings, but one got lost in the middle of Arkansas when we were traveling — we tried and tried to find it. Maybe we couldn’t because her birthday’s in March, and the opals rebelled!

    I do have my gr-gr-grandmother’s opal ring. It’s a small, round, prong-set (!) stone, and it’s just lovely. I’ve never worn it, precisely because that high, prong setting looks like trouble waiting to happen.

    • I got a kick out of picturing the opals rebelling, Linda, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if that were true! My mom’s birthday is in October, and she has a lovely Opal ring that I refuse to even try on. Not that I’m superstitious (much!), but I refuse to tempt Fate!

      You know, you could wait for a remount event at your local jewelry store, and I bet they’d be able to give your Opal ring new life. It’s a shame to have something so precious and beautiful and let it sit in the case!

  3. Debbie, I found this gemstone post exceptionally informative because I had never heard of/or seen Opals that were rainbow. They’re stunning! My birthstone is Opal because I was born in October (the 2nd) and love them. But you very rarely, if ever, see an Opal ring for a man.

    OMG…I love the Opal necklace you displayed in this post, it’s phenomenal. And it should be for $4,880,- HA!

    Once again, my friend. I thank you for sharing another fascinating gemstone post. Excellent!

    Hope you’re having a fabulous Sunday; enjoying the cooler Fall weather. I am :)

    X

    • I remembered your birthday is in October, Ron (hope it was fabulous!). I haven’t seen any men around here wearing opals, but apparently, there are some pretty ones available (https://www.gemologica.com/mens-opal-rings-c-28_46_64_111.html).

      Glad you enjoyed this one — I learned a LOT about Opals! Obviously, with my birthday being in September, I won’t wear one, but they’re so pretty to look at, especially with all those rainbow colors!

      Isn’t this cooler weather great?!? xx

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