Opal Gemstone – Symbolism and Meaning
The Opal gemstone symbolizes faithfulness, divine insight and mystical visions.
It also encourages passion and the erotic.
It is the stone representing hope.
It is sometimes used as a remedy against shyness.
It increases your sense of self-worth and assists in letting go of the negativity in your past.
For those who are suffering from a life threatening illness, Opal is said to encourage the will to live.
In India many believe this gemstone helps improve your memory.
The Opal gemstone is the birthstone of October.
Opal is also the anniversary gemstone for the 14th wedding anniversary.
The name may come from the Greek word “Opalios” and also the Latin word “Opalus”. These words originate in the Sanskrit word “Upala” also meaning precious or valuable stone.
During the Fourteenth century Opal was known as the “Eye Stone”. It was believed that this gem would strengthen the eyesight.
In Ancient Greece this gemstone had a reputation of enhancing the gift of prophecy to its owner. That is if it was not used to promote selfish results.
If the wearer of the Opal had bad intents, that person would become unlucky in love.
The Different Types of the Opal Gemstone
There are many different variations of this gemstone. Opal is a silicon oxide. It contains a small amount of water.
It is 5 ½ to 6 ½ on Mohs’ hardness. It is sensitive to temperature and you can see a slight change in color when the temperature changes.
The White Opal has as the name implies a white background color. It displays beautiful flashes of rainbow colors. This is the most popular variation of the stone used in jewelry.
The Black Opal displays flashes of colors just like the white stone, except the background color is black. The Black Opal is rare and very expensive.
The Water Opal is transparent with glorious flashes of colors.
The Fire Opal is a glowing stone with an orange or red color. Some have flashes of colors, others do not.
It is transparent in different degrees. The transparent Fire Opal is stunning and very expensive.
The Aztecs called the Fire Opal “Quetzalitzlipyollitli” meaning “Stone of the bird of Paradise”. It was considered sacred.
What is known as the “Common Opal” does not have the display of colors. It is dull and grey or yellow in its color. It has very little value.
This is not the Opal you should desire to own. There are not any benefits to the Common Opal, unless of course if you personally love this stone.
The Thieves Stone
During the middle Ages in Europe many believed the Opal Gemstone had the power to make some people invisible.
This superstition contributed to a negative view on the stone.
People became suspicious and the stone got the unflattering and undeserving nickname as “the Stone of Thieves”.
Is the Opal Gemstone Bad Luck?
Sadly many still believe that the Opal is nothing but bad luck.
Interesting is the fact that it is only in the Western world that the Opal has a somewhat negative reputation.
We need to understand where this belief originates.
The main source is probably the novel “Anne of Geierstein” by Sir Walter Scott published in 1829.
In this novel princess Lady Hermione wears a stone believed to be an Opal in her hair. Walter Scott never uses the term Opal in his novel, but this gemstone does have all the qualities of the Opal.
The stone seems to change colors according to the mood swings of Lady Hermione. When Holy Water is sprinkled on the stone in her hair the Lady faints.
She is carried to her bed. The next morning all that is seen on the bed is a pile of dust.
The Lady as well as the stone was dissolved. This is quite sinister to say the least.
Shortly after the release of this novel the Opal dropped in popularity. It is doubtful that Sir Walter Scott foresaw how his novel would harm the gemstone.
Opal – The National Stone of Australia
The Opal is Australia’s National stone. The vast majority of opals originate in Australia.
There is a legend among the Aborigines of Australia about the Opal gemstones.
It tells the story of a pelican called Muda. The pelican was sent to the Northern Territory to explore.
When Muda arrived the bird saw the most amazing thing. The grounds were covered with beautiful stones which sparkled in rainbow colors.
Eager to investigate Muda stared pecking on one of the stones. Suddenly flashes of fire emerged from the stone. And that is how fire was discovered. Finally the people were introduced to cooking their meat.
Ever since the Opal gemstone has been associated with fire.