Opals, once nicknamed the ”Queen of Gems,” have been treasured throughout history. Known for magical displays of color, this enticing gem is one of the birthstones for the month of October. Having been discovered across the world, this unique and beautiful stone has many legends surrounding it, making it perfectly suited for this month! Read on to dive into the history and charm of opals.
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An opal’s type and origin have a big impact on how it appears, as well as its valuation. They can be found all over the world, and even created in a lab! One highly sought-after kind of opal is known as black opal, though it has a slightly blue color overall. Some of the most beautiful and sought-after black opals are Lightning Ridge opals hailing from Australia. They are known for brilliant, vibrant colors against deep blue base tones. Other locales that have produced black opal include Ethiopia and even Nevada!
Another kind of opal that can be found around the world is called Boulder Opal. This type of opal sits within the original rock that it formed inside! The host rock can be subtle or very evident in the final polished opal, but it always gives the stone a unique and natural look!
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Perhaps the best known kind of opal is light - or white - opal. These can be found anywhere from Ethiopia to Idaho! They feature a light grey to white overall color, and have rainbows of colors within the stone. The more play of color within the opal, the more valuable it is.
Fire opal is another kind of opal that stands out from other opal gems - it generally has a red, orange, or yellow base color, and is often almost entirely transparent! Fire opal can also be found all over the world, wherever volcanic activity has occurred. Mexico has been a primary source of fire opal over the past century, though it can also be found in Guatemala, Ethiopia, the United States, and Brazil!
This glowing gem is aptly named the Fire Opal.
For centuries, opals have been associated with good fortune and royalty. Some even believed these gemstones to be infused with magic because of their mystically beautiful play of color! According to Arabic legends, opals fell from the sky in bolts of lightning, imbued with their power and color. The Ancient Greeks thought opals would give the wearer gifts of foresight and prophecy, and heighten their intuition. In other parts of Europe, opals were considered symbols of hope, purity and truth.
However, many people today believe that it might be bad luck to wear an opal if it isn’t their birthstone. Where did this legend come from? Our best guess leads us to a book published in 1829 called, “Anne of Geierstein.” This book featured a princess who wore an opal that changed color with her moods. However, when the fictional stone was destroyed, the princess soon died. This story could have been what shifted the perception of opals in pop culture. In our opinion? If you love an opal, it’ll love you back! Wear the gemstones that bring you joy, what could be better luck than that?
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Once you have an opal piece you love, you’ll want to make sure it’s well cared for! Opals are a fairly soft stone, so they should be the last thing you put on when you start your day, and the first thing you take off when you get home. Opals are delicate gems that don’t need much in the way of maintenance. Just a soft cleansing cloth is all you need to wipe off oils that may have accumulated throughout the day. Make sure you store your opals away from dry air or heat, to prevent the stone from becoming overly brittle or dry. If your opal is visibly dirty, warm water should be all you need to wipe it away!
Whether you’re celebrating an October, birthday, anniversary, or just really love the look of this gorgeous gemstone, we hope this guide helped! Shop with us and discover opal pendants, earrings, rings and more! Plus, we can create the custom design of your dreams with Idaho or Australian opal, or source this gem from nearly any locale.