Opal - Stone of the week

As far as I am aware this is the only semi precious stone that is supposed to be bad luck for you to wear if it is not your birthstone. I have recently found out that there is a theory that opal is also bad luck even if you wear it and are born in October.

Now there are quite a few theories as to why this superstition came about. From a victim of the black plague who’s opal went dull when she died to a a Spanish king who gave an opal to various family members who all died after receiving it and then he died shortly after he himself wore the ring. A novel by Sir Walter Scott, “Anne of Geierstein”, is said to have reduced the price of opal reduced by 50% shortly after it became popular. Anne, in the story owned an opal which changed colour according to her mood and she is accused of being demonic. The opal, later in the story, is touched by holy water and the stone discolours and Anne dies shortly after.

I think all of these stories are possibly why the stone has such a negative reputation but there is also the theory that diamond dealers spread the rumour. The reason for this is apparently because they were so concerned about opals increased popularity that they wanted to ensure that diamonds continued to be the most popular. In addition to the diamond merchants wanting to dominate the jewellery market, opal can be a difficult stone to work with if you don’t know what you are doing. So it would often dry out or crack. Now that would give it a bad reputation amongst jewellers too, wouldn’t it?


· Helps eyesight problems.

· Birthstone for October

· Stone to celebrate 14 years of marriage

· Protection from negative energies

· Strengthen your motivation to succeed

· Encourage inner growth

The history of opal before all of these rumours and stories is so very different though. The word Opal is thought to be derived from various languages. One, Sanskrit upala meaning “precious stone” and a Greek derivative “Opallios” which means “to see a change of colour”. How apt is the Greek derivative? Opal is made up of pieces of silica which have spaces between them and those bits of silica react with light in different ways and therefore the opal appears to be different colours in different lights.

Opal was worn in medieval times by women who wanted to keep their blonde hair from fading or getting darker. The Romans thought that the rainbow of colours in them were a sign of hope and the Greeks thought that by owning one you would increase your ability to see into the future. Due to the flashes of colour in the stone the Arabians thought it had fallen to earth during lightning storms.

Queen Victoria often gifted opal jewellery and as it was Prince Albert’s favourite stone she owned a few pieces too. Sadly many of those pieces have had the opals replaced due to the negative reputation. However there is a beautiful statement opal necklace and earring set that is in the Royal vaults that was made for Queen Elizabeth II by the South Australian government. You can see the set here. The gem in the necklace came from the Andamooka Opal Fields and weighs 203 carats. I would love to see it being worn but I don’t think Queen Elizabeth II likes opals.

I personally love the flashes of colour within this beautiful stone and so along with Queen Victoria, who laughed at the idea that opals were bad luck, I am off to find my opal ring and wear it with pride.

Best wishes


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Please note that the stone attribute section is not proven to be a direct outcome of wearing or owning the stone. It is also not a prescription and should not be used alone to treat health problems.

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Little Stoke, Bristol, UK

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