We’re back to gemstone stories here at Navinee, and today’s post is gonna be about Opals. For as long as we’ve known opals are surrounded by myths and superstitions about bad fortune and ill fate. But we love opals so we thought we’ll do our part to help these beautiful gems shake off all that disbelief.
So if you’re a gemstone newbie or if you’d just like to know more about opals, here’s all the possible info you’ll need.
Opal is actually formed from Silicon Dioxide which is carried down through the earth by water. There are cracks in the earth that are either natural or are caused by decomposing fossils. As water seeps down through such cracks and later evaporates, it leaves the silicon dioxide as residue. Over many years, more and more silicon dioxide is deposited as layers one on top of the other and the opal is formed.
The Romans actually believed Opals to be good luck. Men gave opals as gifts to their wives so they had good fortune and good health. It was believed to be a combination of the beauty of all the other gemstones when put together. Some believed that the gem represented the god of love and that it symbolized hope, love, and purity.
In the Eleventh Century, a certain rumor started to spread - that the Opal was a thief’s gem because it had the capability to turn someone invisible. It was said that the opal could improve the wearer’s vision while clouding everybody else’s. And thus it became the talisman of thieves. It was also said to have teleportation powers.
Later on, it was said that witches used opals to direct spells at people they wanted to harm and to improve their own powers. The Medieval Europeans felt that the opal looked like “The Evil Eye” so they completely shunned it in a way. Some believed it to look like the eyes of a black cat or a snake, or an owl, all of which were considered symbols of evil and bad fortune.
And in the 14th Century, the Opal was believed to be in some way connected to the Black Plague which wiped out nearly a third of Europe’s population.
So those are some of the reasons why the opal is considered to be a not-so-good gem to wear. We think most of the bad fortune could be because of human error though. There’s still superstition around opals and even these days, some are scared to own them or wear them.
Body Tone - The opal is rated on a body tone scale as black, semi-black, and light
Common Opal - This term is used to describe an opal that doesn’t reflect rainbow colors. It’s either black, semi-black, or white.
Crystal Opal - A kind of opal that’s translucent
Fire-Opal - A term that’s used to describe an opal that flashes red or yellow tones
Inclusion - A material that has formed inside the opal
Nobby - A lump shaped opal that’s formed that way naturally
Triplet - Triplet Opals have three layers; a black backing, a thin slice of opal in the middle, and a clear, dome-shaped glass, quartz, or plastic outer layer
So when was the first Opal found? A famous anthropologist Louis Leakey discovered the first opal items inside of a cave in Kenya. These items dated back to 4000 BC. And then the story is similar to that of other gemstones like diamonds. They were later discovered in mines and recognized.
Ancient Romans are said to be the first real marketers of the opal. They had rich and powerful citizens with more than enough money at their disposal. They loved gems and they adored the opal which had the power to reflect many different colors.
Since the 1800s Australia has been the biggest producer of opals, supplying about 90 percent of the total outputs. The first discovery was made in 1849 and many since then have been recorded to have been accidental. One time it was discovered by a lady as a nice pebble in a creek. Another opal discovery was made when a horse’s hoof kicked up a rock that had an opal inside of it. On a certain day, a flock of sheep was struck by lightning during a storm, and later these beautiful gems were discovered in the same region known as “The Lightning Ridge”.
Okay, so that brings us to the end of today’s blog post. We hope you enjoyed reading about Opals and their history. Wasn't it interesting to know how they were discovered and how they are formed? Do let us know in the comments if you’re superstitious about opals or if you wouldn’t mind owning one. We simply love opals and we’d love for everyone to do so too.
Thanks so much for reading guys! Talk Soon!
Have a look at some of our awesome jewelry too, before you go.
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Here's another update on the jewelry trends for this year, just so you know what's in and what's out this season.