30 May

Opals – Fire and Beauty: What to Look for When Buying Opal Jewelry

Opals are legendary! These beautiful gemstones have been popular since ancient times for their beautiful play of colors and opalescence, but these stones also have a reputation for bringing bad luck. Why is that? I would like to explain a little more about this delightful gemstone, one of my particular favourites!

Even the name refers to beauty, as it means “precious stone” and comes from the Latin “opalus” or the Sanskrit “upalas”. It is the birthstone for people born in October. It also appears as a zodiac stone for those born under the zodiac signs of Virgo, Libra and Scorpio and is the stone for the 13th wedding anniversary. I guess it depends on whether you consider 13 an unlucky number!

The majority of high quality Opal are quarried. Opals are formed from liquid silica that has flowed into a crevice or cavity and cooled, creating some very unusual shapes such as wood, shells and even dinosaur bones! This also means that opals have a comparatively high water content, around 10%. For this reason, they should never dry out. Be particularly careful around central heating radiators or direct sunlight. I find it best to keep them in a jewelry box or case when not in use. Detergents can also attack them, so don’t wash them while you’re wearing them! However, not all opals are gem quality, but often they require treatment to make them more attractive and to keep them from drying out. Opal stones can be man-made (either synthesized or altered in some way) and as such there are many types of opals that are man-made. Hence, you need to be careful while choosing opal stone jewelry. The artificially created opals are sometimes called doublets or triplets. A doublet is a wafer-thin slice of real opal glued to a black backing, such as a piece of black onyx stone. Triplets are essentially doublets with a clear glass or quartz cap and a plastic or stone back. A double opal is more valuable than a triplet as it contains more stone. Triplets are good because they are cheaper than a whole stone and look very attractive for a fraction of the cost. They are best found in rings, bracelets and necklaces. Silver chains seem to go best with this. Costume jewelry often contains triplets.

Opal is a stone of protection, faithfulness and loyalty. It is said to improve psychic vision and creativity. They are high vibration mystical gemstones. Therefore, they can have a wide range of applications on both the physical and the higher planes of existence. Some say opal can absorb thoughts and feelings, amplify them and send them back to the source. It is connected to the eye.

Mainly due to superstition, opal was considered a bringer of bad luck. It was believed that opal could bestow its wearer with the power of invisibility – hence it gained a bad reputation as an amulet for thieves. Opal was generally unpopular in the Middle Ages due to its resemblance to the eyes of some “evil” animals. Therefore, this beautiful stone used to evoke fear of the “evil eye”. Still others, such as the Romans, felt it offered protection from this, so make of it what you like! In my opinion it’s a shame to let superstitions keep you from enjoying this beautiful stone. So take a look at my website for some nice examples from selected retailers.

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