It’s October and the days are becoming cooler; air smells sweet and leaves crunch beneath our feet. This is the month we celebrate Halloween and I’d like to wish those of you with birthdays this month a frightful and delightful Happy Birthday!
Opal comes from the Latin opalus and the Greek opallios. Both have as a root word, ophtha—to see; in this case “to see a change of color.” Like so many other stones, opals come in a variety of colors including pale milky white, black, orange, yellow and red. Opals contain up to 20% of water trapped in silica sediment which explains the wide array of colors. Gemologists have divided opals into five main categories: white or light, black, fire, boulder and crystal or water opal. In the 1890s opals were mined in Australia in the semi-arid area called the “outback” and now account for 97% of all opals sold throughout the world.
Because opals are known for showing flashes of the colors of the rainbow, Bedouin tribes in ancient times believed these stones contained lightning and during thunderstorms they fell from the sky.
Ancient Greeks believed people who possessed these gems were given the gift of prophecy and were protected from disease.
Romans valued opals and gave the stone the name “a child as beautiful as love.” They believed wearing opals symbolized hope, purity and love.
There existed the belief that opals could offer wearers therapeutic benefits against eye diseases. Amulets of opal were thought to increase the powers of the mind. Young maidens with blond hair in medieval times believed wearing opals would prevent their hair from becoming dark in color or fading.
Along with the desire to own opals, superstitions arose that cast these stones in an unfavorable light. In medieval times people believed opals resembled “The Evil Eye” and associated them with cats, snakes and toads. There was the belief witches and sorcerers used black opals to increase their “powers” and cast spells on people. Even today some people believe it is unlucky to wear opals if your birthday is not in October!
No matter how you feel about opals, we appreciate their beauty and dazzling colors. Wear them set in rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. We all enjoy mysteries, and the deeper the mysteries surrounding opals, the more precious they become!
Until next month,
KidsGold-14k for Kids