Opal: A Fascinating Treasure

The opal birthstone is colorful like the rainbow and shimmery like magic. This gemstone is distinct, fascinating and a true treasure. If you were born in October, you’re lucky, because this is your birthstone.

Opal Comes From The Land Down Under

The opal’s name originates from two places. It comes from the Sanskrit word “upala,” which means “valuable stone,” and the Greek word “opallus,” which means “to see a change in color.” Unlike other gemstones, each opal is unique – no two are the same. With its general properties, the opal appears very different from the other birthstones, and really is a class of its own. It is the national gemstone of Australia, which makes sense because roughly 97% of all the opals come from down under.

Unique As A Fingerprint

The opal birthstone comes in many colors including white, colorless, pale yellow, pale red, gray, brown and black, and its color helps determine which type of opal it is. While each opal is as unique as a fingerprint, there are three main types of opal: common opals, fire opals and precious opals. Common opals are usually opaque, which means that they do not allow light to pass through. They are found in many colors and are often fluorescent. They are usually one hue, and do not have the rainbow colors you typically imagine when you think of an opal. Precious opals on the other hand, contain various rainbow colors that change depending on the angle, known as play-of-color. When you look at a precious opal, you know how it exudes an array of different rainbow colors? That’s its play-of-color. Of the sparkling rainbow colors you can see from a precious opal, yellow, blue and green are the most common, and violet, red and orange are the most rare. Fire opals sometimes have play-of-color, but most of the time they don’t. Unlike the others, the real standout quality of fire opals is their body color. They are characterized by their body color, and as their name suggests, fire opals are either brown, yellow, orange or red. The fire opal is also known as the Mexican opal.

When you imagine the opal gemstone, you’re probably thinking of the more popular light or white opal, which has a white or light gray background color. Although this variety is highly prized and sought-after, interestingly enough, the rarest and most valued opal is actually the precious black opal, an opal with a black body color and a vibrant play-of-color.

A Stone Of Great Value Throughout History

With such vibrant colors and various options, it’s no surprise that the opal birthstone has been valued throughout history and continues to be a sought-after gemstone today. The Romans were a civilization that valued the opal, believing that it was the most precious and powerful because it contained the colors of other gemstones. According to an old Australian legend, where a majority of the opals are formed, the Creator came down from the heavens on a rainbow and brought a message of peace for all living things. All of the stones that were near His feet when he was giving his message were thought to have suddenly come to life and sparkle. They believed this was the birth of the opal gemstone.

The opal is associated with a few other legends and superstitions as well. Back in the day, many considered the opal to be beneficial to the eye, and for this reason wore it to cure any eye disease. Some also believed that the opal could also make someone invisible. Legend has it that carrying an opal wrapped in a fresh bay leaf would keep others from seeing you. Now, we haven’t tried this, so we can’t say for sure if opal really has invisible powers, but it would be cool. So try it out and let us know!

Besides the potential to make someone invisible, the opal birthstone has many beautiful representations associated with it. Stimulating originality and creativity, the opal is said to curate thought and bring clarity. It is also said to cure depression and help find true and real love. To this day, some say that opal has healing powers. With opal’s tiny spheres, as we discussed earlier, precious opals allows light to go through and it absorbs the light. Because opal can absorb, it is said that the opal gemstone can pick up the thoughts and feelings of people, as well as amplify emotions.

A Beautiful Gift Idea

Being October’s birthstone, opal is a beautiful gift choice for those born in this month. This gemstone looks absolutely stunning as an earring set, pendant necklace or fashion-forward ring. Natural lighting really allows the opal to shine and sparkle all the colors of the rainbow, although opal looks gorgeous under any light. Because of its look, the opal birthstone looks radiant accompanied by any wardrobe style and color. Explore beautiful opal jewelry for a timeless addition to your jewelry collection at Zales.