Opal Stone Meaning
The opal gemstone name is believed to be the root word for the Greek word “opallios”, meaning “color change”. The name of opal gemstone may be derived from the Sanskrit word “upala”, which means “valuable stone”. Opal has ability to amplify both good and bad traits and brings characteristics to the surface for transformation. It helps you to enhance your self worth, confidence and self-esteem, and helps you to know your inner potential. This colorful stone is also known for bringing lightness and spontaneity. The stone is very useful, stimulating originality and innovative thinking and creativity. Opal has an absorbent and reflective nature, therefore it helps you with picking up thoughts and feelings reflecting amplified to their source. The gemstone is also meant to represent justice and harmony, and is a protective stone in risky conditions.
Opal stone meaning also includes its association with love and passion, as well as desire and eroticism. Interestingly, if is one of seductive stone that intensifies emotional states and stabilizes the emotions.
Opal is best stone you can gift to your partner as it bring about loyalty and faithfulness.
Opal is also extremely beneficial in many other physical realms as well, such as in disease cure. Opal stone is said to help strengthen the immune system, hence making you less prone to disease. Furthermore, it purifies blood and kidneys, regulates insulin, eases childbirth, and alleviates PMS. It is also beneficial to the eyes, especially as an elixir. Overall,opal has been proven useful in preventing bad health, birth pain, alleviate many types of pains in the body and makes the body resilient to infection.
Opal stone is also known to help those who are suffering from chemical dependencies. The stone gives the wearer strength and the ability to take back control over their lives.
History of Opal Stone
After discussing the opal stone meaning, we are going to briefly discuss the history and scientific aspects of this marvelous gemstone. The Opal gemstone is known to humans as long as 4,000 years ago, and there is many myths and lore in practically all cultures about this brilliant gemstone.
The opal was priced as high as diamond in ancient Greece because they thought opal to be the tears of Zeus. According to them opal brings foresight and prophecy, which would ensure the owner’s success in war, business and life.
According to the legend of the Australian aborigine opal is God’s footprint that touched the earth at the base of a rainbow to bring harmony. However, The ancient Australian aborigines believed this stone to be of sinister origin. They thought opal means to be half serpent and half devil, and that the fire in opal gemstone stone was actually a trap to lure them into the devil’s lair.
The ancient Romans also wore this gemstone for hope and purity and for curing illness.
According to ancient Indian belief the opal stone was actually the Goddess of the Rainbow which turned turned to stone.
Ancient Arab cultures believed the opal gemstone came from the sky and that the bright play of color was trapped lightning within. According to Arab mythology opal could make its wearer invisible.
Opal stone meaning has been thought different in different cultures of the world cultures. In middle ages the emerged with the name ” Opthalmius”, which means Eye Stone, and was thought to be effective healing stone for eyesight. Blonde maidens also wore to protect their hair from darkening or fading color. In this age opal gemstone meant to provide great luck because it was believed the each color represents the virtues of other gemstone and opal possess all the virtues of each gemstone.
In recent history in history the opal stone has been ridiculously thought as an evil stone. In fact, this has been a ridiculous belief for a long time all over the world. The opal was rumored as being a stone of bad luck. At one point opal became so popular that it became rival to diamonds. The diamond merchants were afraid that the opal stone may surpass diamonds in popularity. They spread the rumor that opals brought bad luck to the wearer.
Sir Walter Scott’s bestselling novel, Anne of Geuerstein, written in 1829, played an important role in unfortunate reputation of opal stone meaning. In his novel a Lady Hermione, was falsely accused of being a demoness, and dies shortly after a drop of holy water accidentally falls on her opal and destroys its color. The public misunderstood the meaning and the though that the genius author means that opal brings bad luck. This novel succeeded in destroying the European opal market for almost 50 years with no real reason.
The Queen Elizabeth played an important role and her efforts helped opal to shed its bad luck reputation and regain popularity with the public. She never believed these superstitions associated with opal stone meaning at all. During her reign, she wore opals herself and gifted them to her daughters.
The myth about the bad luck of opal still exists even today, there are many people who believe not to buy or wear opal stone unless it is your birthstone (October)
“Opal…Made up of the glories of the most precious gems, to describe it is a matter of inexpressible difficulty: there is in it the gentler fire of the Ruby, there is the brilliant purple of the Amethyst, there is the sea-green of the Emerald, all shining together in an incredible union. Some aim at rivaling in lustre the brightest azure…of the painter’s palette, others the flame of burning sulfur, or of a fire quickened by oil.”
~ Pliny the Elder
Types of Opal
Black opal is one of the most sought after stone in black gemstones characterized by a dark tone which makes the opal’s “play of colors” more prominent and bright which is unmatched by lighter opals. The most famous Black Opals are usually mined in Southern Australia. The term black opal doesn’t mean that the stone is completely dark (a common mistake), it simply means the stone has a dark matrix compared to white opal.
The black opals carry a beautiful array of colors and are very clear due to the contrast with the tone of the gemstone. The completely black opal with no play of colors, are of less value and inexpensive. The black opal is most rare and expensive Opal in the world.
Boulder opals are also found in Queensland associated with ironstone boulders. This type of opal is often cut so that the ironstone resides as back of stone while quite thin seam of opal stays on the front facet of the gem. Ironstone on the back provides a dark background on opal on which beautiful play of colors is visible. The opal may also form within the cavities of the boulders in both vertical and horizontal cracks. Boulder opal varies in shape and size, from as small as a nail, to as big as a family car. Boulder Opal has a tendency to cleave; when cleaved the “split” leaves two faces of opal, it leaves a naturally polished surface.
This type of opal stone is also known as ‘milky’ opal. White opals are primarily mined in Southern Australia. White opals have characteristic pale white or light color tone. Similar to other types of opal, white opals can exhibit any color of the spectrum in a beautiful play of color. The more prominent play of color means more price of opal gemstone.
White opals are the most common types of opal. Often white opals are cut in a fashion so that white patch (colorless opal) left on the back of the stone and brighter side of opals comes to front face. Sometimes entire stone will consist of colorful opal.
The term “crystal opal” refers to any kind of opal (i.e. black opal, white opal, semi-black opal) which has a transparent, translucent, or semi-translucent body. If light is able to pass through the stone, or you can see through an opal, then you are probably looking at a crystal opal.
However, boulder opals, which have a layer of translucent opal are not referred to as crystal opals because of their opaque ironstone backing.
The translucence of a crystal opal often gives it a greater clarity and vibrancy of color than opaque stones. Pale colored crystal opals (white crystal opals) are generally more valuable than opaque white opals, and ‘black crystal opals’ can often have more beautiful color than opaque black opals.
Technically, Mexican Fire Opal, mined in Mexico is the only real fire opal. It usually has a distinct orange color. However, the same gemstone name has also been used to describe Australian opal (normally a black opal shows it best) which has a significant amount of red color in its nodule. The fire opal is a valuable variety of opal gemstone because red is quite color in opal stone.
This stone is has also given the name “Chocolate Opal” because of its chocolate brown color. There is another type of opal which comes with very brilliant colors and mostly red and little blue (they are different than those opals mined in Australia) and is called Ethiopian Fire Opal.
Another opal mined from Ethiopia is “Wello Opal” which is found in the high desert of Ethiopia. They are actually a variety of opals named after the place “Wello” where they are mined in Ethiopia.
Ethiopian opals are very rich and diverse in colors. They have play of colors ranging from Neon reds, oranges, green, blue, white, yellow, brown and a fire color. They are colors which are not even present in the opals from Australia, such as turquoise and indigos. Ethiopian fire opals are most unique opals because of their striking pattern formations which makes them more sought after and valuable.
Australian Blue Opal
As the name suggests that these opals comes from Australia and their color ranges in color from blue-white to deep blue. According the astrologers Australian blue opal is enhancing communication skills.
Sources of Opal
Australia is homeland of world opals as 95% of the world’s precious Opal comes from Australia. Some of the most precious and famous Opals have mined from Australia including the Olympic Australis, Flame, Queen Opal Andamooka Opal and the Halley’s Comet Opal.
Other famous sources of opal is United States, Ethiopia, Brazil, and Mexico (where the famous ‘Fire Opal’ is mined).
Superstitions about opal
Opal was considered very lucky stone during the middle ages. It was thought that this stone can bring great luck because it was believed to possess all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was present in the play of colors in opal.
Famous Opals in History
It is the world’s largest and most valuable opal to the time. It is currently valued at AUD $2,500,000. The name is given because it was found in Australia and during the Olympic Games were held in Melbourne at the time. It comprises of 99% gem opal with an even color throughout the gemstone. The stone has not been cut or polished and left in natural organic condition. The world largest opal, Olympic Australis weighs 17,000 carats (3450 grams). Currently the opal is present in Melbourne.
The Andamooka Opal was discovered in Andamooka, South Australia, which is an historic opal mining town. This opal went famous in 1950’s when it was presented to Queen Elizabeth II in on her first visit to Australia. Later the stone was cut and polished by John Altmann to a weight of 203 carats (41 g) and was set with diamonds into an 18 carat palladium necklet. Andamooka Opal displays a magnificent array of colors such as red, blue, and green.
Burning of Troy
This is a historical opal and there it is long story of appearance and disappearance behind this opal. It is also known as Napoleon’s Black Opal. Emperor Napoleon gave this opal to his wife and Empress Josephine de Beauharnais. This is one of magnificent Black Opal of history. It is special because of its flashing crimson fire in its dark depths and because of this it is also named as ‘Burning of Troy’.
Once in the history the “Burning of Troy” was the largest Black Opal in the world weighing 700 carats in cut form. It attracted much attention because of its beauty and Josephine wore it often. After the death of Josephine in in 1814, the Burning of Troy Black Opal disappeared. It remained hidden for 100 years during first World War. At that time it was valued at over $50,000.
The Opal passed from the sight again at the outbreak of World War II and has not been seen in public since.