The most spontaneous word to associate with opals is Iridescence. The word ‘opal’ originates from the Sanskrit word ‘upala’, which means ‘valuable stone’. It was also believed to be the term ‘opallios’ from Greek language, which describe it as ‘colour change’. Of all the well-known opal, the most famous was that of ancient dreamtime of the Australian aborigines. The legends from ancient Australia believe that their creator came down to Earth on a rainbow, in order to spread peace and prosperity in humanity. Moreover, at the spot where the creator’s feet touched the ground, the stones started sparkling in all the colours of rainbow and became alive. That was how the Opal came into existence.
It is the birthstone for the lucky ones born in October and for the sun sign Cancer, and it is considered a perfect as a 14th anniversary gift. Black opal is recommended for scorpions while the lucky stone for Arians is Boulder Opal. Opal is considered to be one of the most mysterious and beautiful gems among the gemstone history having almost all the colours of the rainbow, flashing and sparkling, due to the presence of minute particles of air enclosed in its fisheries.
Opal did not get much of the attention during the first half of the 19th century. The extreme popularity of Opal emerged with the period of Art Deco.
Harlequin Opal (church window) is considered the finest variety, in which the colour is spreader in number of very small flakes throughout the stone. The Mexican Opal is transparent and has less defined color and much larger patches. In addition, the fire Opals from Mexico are of deep red in color. These stones with fire flame color are thought to be the finest variety of opals.
This October birthstone was known as the Ophthalmius, or Eye stone, in 14th century, as it was believed to sharpen the eyesight. Until today in India, the passing of an Opal across the brow is considered to strengthen the memory and cleanses the brain.
Opals are regarded as a sacred stone in the East as it contains the Spirit of the Truth. There are also many myths related to the stone. One of which was in the Medieval time, where all the blonde maidens wanted Opals in their necklace, as it was believed an absolute surety to prevent their hair from fading or darkening. It was also known as Patronus Forum (patron of thieves) as it was considered to make a person invisible, whenever he wished.
According to the Ancient Greeks, Opals possess the power of farsightedness and the light of prophecy to the wearer, on the limitation it was not used for any selfish motive. Any misuse may bring misfortune and disappointment and can bring ill luck in love and in all spheres of life.
Opal was considered to be provided great luck in the Middle Ages, as it was believed to possess all the virtues of all gemstone whose colour was reflected in the colour spectrum of the Opal.
It is abundantly found in Australia and until today, about 95% of opals are mined from Australia. Northern Brazil, Mexico, states of Idaho and Nevada and Ethiopia are countries that make the rest of available opal percentage.