10 Awesome Facts About Opal Gemstones
Posted On : 07 Jun

The most famous and most wanted beautiful rock in the world is the Opal stone. Excellent stones for any jewelry since their beauty is simply astonishing. 

The opals are highly favored among gemologists, collectors, and jewelers for this reason alone – namely their historical background combined with vibrant color. In the past kings used to regard opal jewelry as an indispensable accessory attached to it that could not be missed on any given occasion. 

This stone is made of silica and water, and it can also be found in different forms, one common form being the vital opal. It is present in any rock with minute cracks and cavities, though in most cases it occurs in basalt, sandstone, and limonite.

Let's dive into the top 10 awesome facts about opal gemstones and understand their origin, types, and colors. 

Opal Gemstone


The Latin Origin 


The English term Opal is believed to be adopted from the Latin word “Opalus”. Others also believe that it is derived from “Upala”, a Sanskrit term that means precious stone. Opal stone has been celebrated for thousands of years. 


Precious and Common Opals 


Most often varieties seen in the opal category are precious and common. A way in which they are dissimilar comes from the optical effect they make. Both precious and common opal stones are opalescent but at different degrees. 

The color that the precious opal gemstone displays is so unique compared to the other opals. The spaces between the silica spheres in the internal structure of the stone cause the precious opa’s opalescence. The colorful and vivid refractions are created when the light is passed through these spaces. 

On the other hand, the common opal displays a misty-milky surface. 

Opal Stone

Variety Of Hues 


Both precious and common opals come in a wide range of stunning colors. Even though precious opals come in an array of hues such as reds, yellows, blues, and greens, the “color” of a precious opal stone is referred to as the background color. Now, this can be any shade, but the most common ones are green, white, and translucent. 

Common opals, on the other hand, come in various colors like blue, purple, green, and pink. Due to their simple and sheer appearance, they are often mistaken for Quartz and Labradorite


Opals are Minerals, Not Crystal 


Opals are considered a mineraloid that is a hydrated amorphous form of silica. This is similar to amber, obsidian, and pearl. Mineraloids are naturally occurring substances that do not show crystallinity. This means that the atoms present in minerals are not laid out at regular gaps as they are in crystals. 


Australia’s National Gemstone 


For its use in jewelry, Australia mines about 95 percent of the world’s precious opals. This kind of real opal found in Australia, naturally makes it the country’s national gemstone. Often, the indigenous Australians generally connect rainbows with the creation of opals. This makes the opal stone known as the rainbow stone. 

There is a myth that a lineal being reached earth via the colorful rainbow which touched the ground converting all rocks and pebbles in the area into speaking opal. 

The three locations in Australia that produce the highest percentage of opals are South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales. Other countries known to produce opals are Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru, Hungary, Nicaragua, and the United States of America. 


Opals Can Be Synthesized 


Just like any other gemstone, an opal can be created in a laboratory very easily. Pierre Gilson first synthesized opal in 1974. Modern laboratory-made opals do not have the patterning like the earlier attempts and synthesizing opals has also improved, due to the pioneering of technology. 

With non-directional patterns, a modern synthetic opal has more similarity to an original opal stone. By the lack of inclusions in the stone, lab-created opals can still be distinguished. 

Opal Gemstone


Black Opals 


The most precious type of opal stone is the black opal because it is extremely rare. Since black opals contain trace amounts of carbon and iron oxide which are not present in regular opals, it makes them dark in color. 

Due to their dark body tone, the rainbow hues found in the black opal stick out much more than a light-toned opal. People have a misconception that the opal is fully black. But it's not true, the uniqueness of the black opal comes from the contrast between the rainbow of colors and the black shade within the stone. 


Good Luck Or Bad Luck


Recently, the Opal gemstone has attracted a lot of bad reputation in terms of luck. This probably started with the novel Anne Of Geierstein written by Sir Walter Scott. This novel features a person who passes away shortly after her opal stone bizarrely loses its color. 

These superstitions are a century older, but in the most recent times, some people still hold this association true. For those who are not superstitious, the simple explanation here is that since opals are delicate and can easily be damaged, a stone having its appearance altered or being lost from a setting is relatively likely. 

Sometimes it's all about coincidence, the unlucky event was simply by chance. 


Birthstone For October 


The opal gemstone represents the October month. The opal is associated with self-assurance, fidelity, and wisdom. Both, the Greek term “Opallios”, which means “to notice a shift in hue” and the Latin word “Opalus”, which means “valuable jewel”, plays a part in the growth of this word. People who carry or wear the opal stone believe in attracting beauty and winning in the luxuries of life. 


World’s Most Expensive Opal 


The Flame Queen is one the rarest black opals mined from the Bald Hill in Australia. Though experts debate the exact discovery of this superior stone, it is believed to have been discovered in the early 1900s. This 261-carat stone features notable green-blue edges and red flashes. 

In 1980, a renowned art and luxury dealer, Christie, auctioned the Flame Queen for $1 million, breaking all records. As of 2024, its estimated value is $3.6 million. Some other rare and expensive Opal stones are the Virgin Rainbow, Olympic Australis, and the Sea of Opal. 


Conclusion 


These amazing facts about Opal will open your eyes to new possibilities. If you wish to buy original opal stones of high quality and graceful appearance, head to CabochonsForsale, a leading platform for all your gemstone needs. 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)


1. Why are Opals So Popular? 


Due to its uniqueness, diversity, and color, the opal gemstone is extremely valuable and famous. Every opal is different from one another, making them all unique and individualistic. 


2. Which Zodiac Sign is Associated With the Opal Gemstone? 


The zodiac sign of Libra and the month of October is strongly associated with the opal gemstone. Libra represents harmony, romance, balance, and relationships, which makes it the most romantic sign of the zodiac. 

People who belong to the Libra category are likely to value commitment and love above everything else. 


3. What Are the Properties Of Opal Gemstone


A real opal is known to hold properties that could benefit you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Physically, it boosts your immune system, treats chronic illness or fatigue, and brings down a fever. 

Emotionally, it helps create happy thoughts, increases self-confidence, and decreases stress and anxiety. Spiritually, it protects you from negative energies, balances your chakras, and calms your mind.