The opal stone is one of the favourites amonst jewelry makers. It is a accepted 14th anniversary gemstone as well as an october birthstone. It's best described in this poem.

October's child is born for woe,
And life's vicissitudes must know;
But lay an Opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest.

The Meaning of Opal

There are two theories going around as to the origin of the name opal.

The first one is that opal is derived from the Latin word "opalus", meaning a stone from several elements. According to second theory the word opal comes from "upala", a Sanskrit word meaning a valuable stone.

Types of Opals

  • Black Opal
  • : Rare and the most valuable amongst all the opal stones. The gem is not actually black , as one would assume , but has a much darker tone than the other opals in comparision.

    Technically black opal has a dark body color and can range from black to a gray-black background. Because of the darker base the colors reflect stronger and are highly sought after due to the rarity and beauty of the black opal. The brighter, more unusual and sharper/vivid the colors the more valuable.

  • White Opal
  • : Sometimes also called a milky opal because of its translucent to opaque whiteness, which can have all traditional colors against this white background. Much more abundant than the black opal and hence not as valuable as the black version.

    It generally lacks the shine of a black opal , though a good quality white australian opal can have nearly as many tones and colors as the black.

  • Boulder Opal
  • : Normally only found in Australia, boulder opals are normally dark in tone. They are usually a brown base with thin color veins splashed across it. Boulder opals are typically blue-green in color but can also have in rare cases multicolored patterns the same as crystal opals.

    This kind of opal forms in crevices and cracks in boulders, usually filling them up. Found in many different shapes and sizes , the beauty of the boulder opal lies in its shiny finish that occurs naturally within the gem.

  • Crystal Opal
  • : They are opals that when held up in light allows you to see through it. The good ones generally display a blue-green color pattern or a multi-color display.

    Points to Note While Shopping For Opals

    Apart from the natural opals there are a lot of other man-made and lab-created opals on the markets today. Keep them in mind while shopping for opal stones or opal jewelry so that you don't get taken for a ride.

  • Doublets
  • : A very very paper thin slice of a genuine opal glued onto a black backing.

  • Triplets
  • : They are actually doublets but with a transparent glass or quartz capping.

  • Lab Created and Simulated Opals
  • Very close to a natural opal and very difficult to distinguish with an untrained eye.

    Taking Care of your Opal Jewelry

    Opals are generally fragile (in large part depending on the way it has been cut) and tend to chip and scratch quite easily. As it contains a high percentage of water ( usually betwen 2% - 6% ), opal may deteriorate in heat and cold. It then starts to show fissures and the colors become paler.

    The more you wear your opal jewelry the better it is , as the gemstone will receive the neccessary humidity from the air. It is also a good idea to wash opal in pure water every now and then so as to remove all traces of chemicals and cosmetics

    Mystical & Healing Power of an Opal Stone

    The gemstone helps the wearer find happiness, love, good fortune and favour in the courts. Opal enables the wearer to foresee minor illness and this is indicated with the opal turning dull and grey. Opal turns sickly yellow when injury or accident is imminent.

    Black opal is regarded as an extremely lucky stone. In ancient times opal was accepted as a symbol of faithfulness and confidence. It had a reputation for it healing properties, especially increasing mental capacities such as creative imagination. Black opal worn near the heart on necklace made of gold is said to protect one from the evil eye and protect travelers on journeys to faraway lands.

    Go to birthstone list from opal stone page

    Go to List of gemstones page

    Go to Crystal Jewellery Home Page

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