The Opal: stone of the month of October

Posted by Carolina Mendoza in

October is the month of Opal, a stone that for centuries has been surrounded by magic, myths and legends.

For a long time, opals were considered one of the most valuable stones. It is believed that its name is derived precisely from the Latin "Upala", which literally means "precious stone".

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However, opal is not really a mineral; it is the condensation of silica and water that has been fossilized for millions of years. The base color can vary according to the amount of iron oxide it contains, it can be white, milky blue, yellow, orange, red-orange (fire opal) and black.

Opal falls into 2 categories: Common opals that are distinguished by their vibrant and attractive colors, and opals whose rainbow iridescence makes them considered gemstones. The precious opal is characterized by the internal brightness of its colors, white, yellow, orange, red, green, blue and purple.

Regardless of type, opals contain 5% to 10% water in submicroscopic pores. Although this makes it a delicate stone, it also helps the light to reflect in such a way that it has fueled the imagination and fascination of mankind.

The Opal in History:

  • According to the legends of the Australian aborigines, the creator came to Earth in a rainbow, in order to carry the message of peace to all human beings. And in the same place, when his foot touched the ground, the stones were revived and began to sparkle in all the colors of the rainbow; giving way to the birth of opals.
  • The Opals of Mexico were used by the Aztec people for the elaboration of ornamental and ceremonial articles. Opal was known by the name of vitzitziltecpal or “hummingbird stone”, alluding to the similarity of the gem's iridescence to that of the bird's plumage.
  • The Arabs believed that opal came to Earth by lightning and many Eastern traditions refer to it as "the anchor of hope".
  • The ancient Greeks believed that it gave its bearer the gift of premonition.
  • For the Romans it was second only to emeralds in terms of the ability to attract fortune. The Caesars gave them to their wives and it is said that a Roman senator named Nonius chose exile to avoid selling a beautiful opal of his property to Marco Antonio, who wanted to give it to his beloved Cleopatra.

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The Mystical Power of Opals
Today, the healing power of Opal has been widely talked about. It is said to be able to resolve depressions and help its bearer to find true and real love.

Opal can also have different colors, each of them offering an additional property:

  • Black opal. It is associated with the sacral chakra, which manages our interactions with others, making it useful for processing and integrating emotions.

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  • Blue opal. It is associated with the throat chakra, so it helps improve communication.
  • Pink opal. It is associated with the heart chakra. It promotes the connection between the consciousness of being and the internal knowledge of the individual. Stimulates thoughts of love and peace.
  • Fire opal. It is associated with the solar plexus chakra. It enhances personal power and protects you from external dangers.
  • Green opal. It is associated with the heart chakra. It is a cleansing and rejuvenating stone that helps you in relationships and emotional recovery.
  • White opal It is associated with the crown chakra. White opal is said to help us accept ourselves and others. In addition to being used to potentiate divinatory qualities.

The Legend of the Cursed Opal

Despite being a fascinating and favorite stone for engagement rings, many will wonder why it no longer enjoys the fame it used to have. And a lot has to do with the legends that have circulated around the opal.

Mexican Opal

Opal began to lose popularity when it began to be related to witches and the "evil eye", as its physical characteristics were reminiscent of the eyes of animals classically associated with witchcraft: such as cats, toads and snakes.

In addition, in 1829 the novelist Sir Walter Scott contributed to his bad reputation when in his novel Anne de Geierstein he related opal to misery. The popularity of this work was such that it cut the price of opals in half in just one year and practically paralyzed the European market for these jewels for decades!

And as if that weren't enough, the jewelry industry itself contributed to spreading the legends. Due to the fragility of the opal, on many occasions jewelers ended up breaking them when carving them. Having to be held responsible for the damage, it is not surprising that they refused to work on them claiming that they were "cursed jewels". Others argue that diamond dealers in the mid-19th and early-20th centuries feared their business would be threatened by the beautiful, high-quality Australian opals that began to hit the markets around this time; and that it was they who spread rumors that they were cursed jewels to prevent their growing popularity.

This is obviously superstition, fiction, and even market manipulation, but was there ever a really cursed opal?

Virgin de la Almudena pendant with opal

There is a legend that in the Spanish monarchy there was a cursed opal. Legend has it that King Alfonso XII fell madly in love with the Countess of Castiglione, and that her love was reciprocated, although at the last moment he decided to marry her cousin, María Mercedes de Orleans. The disgruntled countess sent the couple a wedding gift: a magnificent opal set in a huge gold ring. María Mercedes was fascinated with the jewel, however, five months after receiving it, she mysteriously died. The jewel passes into various hands after that; Tetrically, all the royals who had in their possession the opal ring died of mysterious causes, including the king himself. Finally, Queen María Cristina de Habsburgo had it blessed, ordered it to be mounted on a gold chain and the neck of the image of the Virgin of Almudena to be adorned with it. Thus putting an end to the victims of the Cursed Opal ...

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Opal is certainly a powerful and fascinating stone. Not for nothing adorns numerous Ikcha rings. Whether you are intrigued by legends, you take advantage of its mystical properties for the alignment of chakras or just captivate you with its iridescence and beauty, opal is a gem that should have a special space in your jewelry.

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Birthstone Opalo Significado de las Piedras

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