The Opal is Cotober's Birthstone, 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".
Bespoke Engagement Ring with Opal and Garnets.
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 brilliance of its colors, white, yellow, orange, red, green, blue and violet.
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 a way that has sparked the imagination and fascination of mankind.
Opal in history around the world:
- According to Australian legends, 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 came to life 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. The opal was known by the name of vitzitziltecpal or "hummingbird stone", alluding to the similarity of the iridescence of the gem with that of the plumage of the bird.
- The Arabs believed that the opal came to Earth carried by lightning and many Eastern traditions refer to it as "the anchor of hope".
- The ancient Greeks believed that it granted its bearer the gift of premonition. For the Romans it was only below 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.
The Mystic Power of Opals
Today, the healing power of Opal has been widely talked about. It is said to be able to solve depressions and help its bearer to find true and real love.
The opal can also have different colors, each of them offering an additional property:
- Black opal: It is associated with the sacral chakra, which handles our interactions with others, making it useful for processing and integrating emotions.
- Blue opal: It is associated with the throat chakra, thus helping to 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. Also stimulates thoughts of love and peace.
- Fire opal: It is associated with the solar plexus chakra. Boost personal power and protect 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. Besides 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.
Opal began to lose popularity when it began to be related to witches, as its physical characteristics were reminiscent of the eyes of animals classically associated with witchcraft: such as cats, toads and snakes.
Furthermore, in 1829 the novelist Sir Walter Scott contributed to his notoriety when in his novel Anne de Geierstein he linked opal with 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 the spread of the legends. Due to the fragility of opal, on many occasions jewelers ended up breaking them when carving them. Having to take responsibility 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 that their business would be threatened by the beautiful, high-quality Australian opals that began to hit the markets at 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?
Opal pendant of the Virgen de la Almudena
There is a legend that a cursed opal existed in the Spanish monarchy. Legend has it that King Alfonso XII fell madly in love with the Countess of Castiglione, and that his love was reciprocated, although at the last moment he decided to marry his 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 passed from hand to hand after that. Tetrically, all the royals who possessed the opal ring died of mysterious causes, including the king himself. Finally, Queen María Cristina of Habsburgo had it blessed, ordered that it be mounted on a gold chain and sent to adorn the neck of the statue of the Virgin of Almudena. Thus putting an end to the victims of the Cursed Opal ...
There is certainly a lot to say abput the Opal; a powerful and fascinating stone in itself. Whether you are intrigued by legends, would like to expereince its mystical properties for chakra alignment, or just are captivated by its iridescence and beauty, opal is a gem that should have a special space in your jewelry!