Creativity, Spontaneity, Relationships, Love, Fidelity, Memory, Mental Clarity, Inspiration, Dreams and Changes.
Though there has been some debate, it is generally believed that the word opal comes from the Sanskrit word upala, which means “precious stone.” Even before there were Roman writings about opal under the name Opalus, the term upala appeared in references as early as 250 BC, and it was known that opals were coming out of India to the delight of the Greek and Romans.
Opal comes in all ranges of color, including colorless, white, yellow, red, orange, green, brown, black, blue, pink.
Most of the world’s opal comes from Australia, and in many of its varieties. Other notable sources for opal are the US (Nevada, Idaho and Oregon), Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ethiopia.
Historians believe that opal was first discovered as early as 2000 BC during the Bronze Age. Both the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians are said to have used the opal as a protective talisman. The Greeks thought opals were the solidified tears of Zeus. However, it didn’t gain in circulation until around 200 BC when it spread throughout the Roman empire. Next to the emerald, opal was considered the most valuable gem to ancient Romans. It is said that Emperor Constantine wore an opal in his crown, to protect his reign and his very life. Even Pliny the Elder voiced his opinion of opal in his statement (paraphrased here): “For in Opal you shall see the living fire of ruby, the glorious purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald, all glittering together in an incredible mixture of light.”
Romans also believed that the opal held certain powers for prophecy and foresight. Plato recorded that an opal ring, with the stone turned inwards towards the palm, would make the wearer invisible. This belief in opal’s power of invisibility would remain for centuries, making it a popular stone for thieves. The Roman’s also gave validity to the opal’s ability to improve business success, as well as opal being the symbol for hope and purity.
Other cultures throughout history have also revered the opal. The Japanese saw opal as a promise stone, using opals in betrothal jewelry. Ancient Arabia thought that opals were stones of the gods that fell from heaven during lightning strikes, and they also held fast to the belief that opals made their bearers invisible. In India, opals were considered to be their Rainbow Goddess, turned into stone. Australian Aboriginal myth states that the Rainbow Serpent god’s footsteps would become transformed into opal, but they also held that opals were used to lure otherwise good people into the devil’s lair.
During the Crusades, when men would leave for years to go battle, the ladies would give their man an opal, to bring him good luck and help him return safely. Not long after, the Aztec people had their own relationship with opal going. They called opal the Hummingbird stone, or “vitzitziltecpal”…. named for how the colors in opal reminded the Aztec’s iridescent colors in hummingbird plumage. It was considered a charm against evil eye and curses.
Throughout history, one piece of lore is repeated often…. the opal as a love stone, but only for faithful lovers. Should a lover be given an opal by their beloved, and then be unfaithful, the opal would become cracked and darkened.
In the 1800’s, a rumor was started that quickly caught fire across Europe. The story stated that opals were bad luck. Is it a coincidence that this bad-luck story was started during a time when opal was fast gaining popularity with the people? Might it have been started by diamond merchants, to cut the feet out from under their competition? Might it have been started by fussy lapidary workers who didn’t want to have to cut the often brittle, fragile opals? Might it have originated simply from a novel by Sir Walter Scott titled “Anne of Geierstein?” In the story, the main character wore an opal in her hair, and who was eventually accused of being a demon. When holy water was sprinkled on the opal, it was ruined (in the story), and the main character took ill and burned away overnight. However, the rumor of opal’s bad luck got started, it is indeed completely false.
Opal is one of the more fragile stones, so please be aware while handling it. It won’t crumble on you, but it might fracture if dropped, or if worn as a ring, could chip if hit against an object like a desk or table.
Opal is a love stone. It has a long running reputation as a fidelity stone, bestowing good fortune on faithful lovers. It is said that opals promote loyalty in all kinds of love, from higher love, to love of self, platonic love, and passionate love. Opal brings its creative spirit into loving relationships, bringing renewal and joy. It can also boost self-esteem and increase the value a person places on himself/herself.
Along with love, opal brings with it compassion, imagination, spontaneity, impulsiveness and sympathy. It enhances expressiveness and helps break down the inner barriers that block us from inspiration and playfulness. Opal is a bit unpredictable, representing the ever-changing nature of our lives, and giving us the ability to navigate the twists and turns. With the soothing effects of opal, the bearer is filled with confidence, peace and hope. This is a stone to keep close by you in times of emotional difficulties and challenges.
Opal is a stone of creativity, boosting imagination and bringing fresh new ideas to any project or endeavor. It’s said that it helps boost memory, and brings clarity to the mind. It brings its wonderful protective energy to bear, shielding the bearer from negativity both inside and out. Its protective energy is said to be especially strong when in dangerous places.
A piece of opal beneath the pillow is said bestow happy dreams and dispel any sleep anxiety. Opal’s myth carries over. In ancient times opal was believed to make the bearer literally invisible, and in modern times, opal is said to help a person become unnoticeable when they don’t wish to attract attention.
Blue Opal: Blue opals are wonderfully cooling and soothing to erratic emotions. It helps bolster a person’s courage so that they can better speak and express what is in their heart, what their truth is. Blue opal really addresses many aspects to communication, and it can be helpful in any interaction with other people. Blue opal helps people make a connection with each other. Also, this stone is representative of the tides, the seas and oceans, and all that lives therein. Wear a blue opal if you ever go swimming with dolphins.
Boulder Opal: Boulder opals are thin layers of opal cut with ironstone still on the back. This helps strengthen the opal and really depends their already gorgeous color. Most of this variety of opal originates in Queensland, Australia. These opals are considered very good for connecting oneself to the Earth’s energy. They promote grounding and strength. This opal supports mental clarity, as well as creativity and originality. Boulder opals help us slow down and really take a good hard look at our internal life, finding the divine within, and inspiring us further on our spiritual journey.
Chocolate Opals (Ethiopian opal, brown): In the year 1934, an archeologist and naturalist, Louis Leaky, discovered tools on the African continent that were made with opal components. He claimed that opals could indeed exist naturally in Africa, but it wasn’t until 1994, when another scientist, Dr. Barot witnessed opals first hand in Ethiopia. How long have opals been in deepest Africa? Leaky’s archeological artifacts with the opal components were dated back to around 4000BC. As it turns out, Ethiopia is the sole source for the now-beloved chocolate opal. It is called chocolate opal for its brown coloring, and they are known for having spectacular fire of all colors. The region where chocolate opals can be found is very small, and the opals are in limited supply, making them a gorgeous rarity.
Chocolate opals are brilliant stones, captivating of the imagination, mysterious and powerful.
They evoke wonder and delight, stimulate creativity, and open the higher mind up to psychic awareness. Some people claim that chocolate opal helps them with visions and vision quests. They say these stones assist them in seeing clearly, with “flashes” of spontaneous inspiration and ingenuity. Chocolate opals are both stimulating in spirit, and calming for the emotions.
Mexican Fire Opal: Though the term fire opal can include black opals with red fire (red fire being the rarest), it is more commonly in reference to Mexican fire opals, which can be anywhere in the yellow, orange and cherry red range. Mexican fire opal is often cut with its matrix, and it is truly an interesting and engrossing gem.
Fire opal is a great stimulant, helping stoke the inner fires and enhancing a person’s own individual power. This is a very warming and energizing stone, and some say it can stimulate the sexual system of the body and magnify passion. With this in mind, fire opal is excellent at rekindling the passion in a loving relationship.
Fire opal is representative of change. It helps one release the past to clear space for new interests and joy. It amplifies the tendency towards change, and stimulates progress. The energy of fire opal is so dynamic, it is great with any area that requires passion, such as love relationships and also business. It increases stamina, helping the invigorated person avoid burn out.
Fire opal is a stone of protection from danger, and boosts mental clarity. It is a stone of hope, hope for the future.
Green Opal: Green opal is a wonderful stone, stimulating yet rejuvenating at the same time. It helps cleanse the entire system, both physically and spiritually, and assists in releasing all the old junk leftover from past lives. In the space that is left, the body and spirit can be rejuvenated, and the emotions healed and balanced. With all the mental clutter dispelled, it is easier for a person to enjoy and appreciate life from a more joyous, spiritual perspective. Green opal opens the heart and welcomes in sheer delight with life.
Pink Opal: Pink Opals are as softly radiant as their color, being strong and vibrant and stimulating. It awakens the higher mind, sometimes stimulating psychic abilities, and harmonizing a person with their inner spirit and elevating mood. This opal helps stabilize the energy around us, in us and leaving us, and brings balance to the opposites that exist within us. This is an excellent stone for groundedness and overall balance, and of peace and healthy, wise love.
White Opal: These are the most common of the precious opals, and are generally found in Australia. These stones are a milky white and feature beautiful flashes of color (depending on quality). Some white opal has no fire at all, and is super common… it is called potch.
White opal is said to induce mental clarity, and increase one’s talent for business. This is a stone of productivity, competency and efficiency, perfect for your work environment or office. White opal also lifts the vibration of a person’s desires…. for example, white opal helps a person enjoy food for its taste and smell and texture, and not as an emotional soother. It brings lovemaking back into sex, and allows for enjoyment of everyday pleasures… such as sunshine, pure water, the loyalty of an animal, and the scent of flowers, etc.