In this blog, we are going to be celebrating October’s birthstone, the opal! This beautiful stone might even have one or two spooky stories that make it the perfect stone for the Halloween Season!
Hello, Summerville! We hope this finds you at your most sparkly and shiny, ready to rock out another blog with us. While we are quickly approaching the end of October and what many of us fondly call “spooky season” we couldn’t let this month get away without talking about this month’s birthstone, the opal. This stunning and unique gem is not only full of an all-encompassing beauty, but it also has some of the most unique, and potentially very spooky, history and stories attached to it. This stunning gem that carries every color has more power and secrets than you might think a simple gem can hold. Have you not seen one in person? Come in and visit us, we have a few we’d love to show you!
[The Beginning]
Let’s introduce you to the opal with all of its opening credits. It is one of the softer stones on the moh’s scale ranging in between 5.5 to 6.5 in hardness. Today, opals are found mostly in the United States, Mexico, and Australia. They can range in a multitude of colors ranging from semi-transparent to opaque, according to AGTA. White opal is the most common while black opals are some of the rarest of the gemstone, and can have a black, dark blue, or grey body color. What makes the stone truly spectacular is its play-of-color, this is what its multiple colors that flash and appear across the stone is called. Some can have very light and simple flashes across the stone while others have broad and dramatic flashes and patterns that appear in the stone. The more dramatic and the more patterns a stone has, the more it is worth. While ancient history and throughout time, the opal has been attached to many meanings and beliefs, today it is known and cherished for its stunning play-of-color. Outside of it sharing October with tourmaline as its birthstone, it is also traditionally given as an anniversary gift on the 14th year of marriage, according to AGTA.
[Historical Pages]
Like many of the stones we have talked about in previous blogs, the ancient Romans had their own opinion of this beautiful stone. To them, according to AGTA, it was a stone that was a symbol of hope, fidelity, purity, and love. They named the stone opalus, which meant “precious stone”. It was the ancient Roman culture that first noticed that this one gem carried the colors of all gems, making it one of the finest gems of all.  It was a true marvel to them that one stone could hold so much wonder and beauty. Stepping even farther back in history, according to the International Gem Society, opals were worn for all kinds of reasons. Some believed they could cure disease. The ancient Greeks, on the other hand, thought opals could give the wearer the power of prophecy. Arabic legend, according to GIA, even goes as far as believing that these out of this world gems came from heaven, appearing thanks to the flash of lightning.
[A Little Witchy]
While these stunning stones have captured the hearts and eyes of millions for hundreds of years in the throws of love and passion, they might have a darker story to tell than many might know or believe. According to GIA, AGTA, and the International Gem Society, many believe that the opal is an unlucky gem for anyone who isn’t born in October. Meaning, if the opal isn’t your birthstone, you should not wear it. According to GIA, throughout its history, it has earned the reputation of the luckiest and most magical of all gems because of all the colors it possesses. How magical do some believe these stones to be?
In ancient times, many believed that wearing the gem could make you invisible. Others believed, according to the International Gem Society, that wrapping an opal with a fresh bay leaf would also make you invisible. This superstition and belief earned the gem the nickname Patronus Furum, which is Latin for “patron of thieves”, as this belief would help the owner take whatever they wish from whomever they wish. Some, according to IGS, believed opal could help you achieve the ultimate state of invisibility called astral projection. The depths of the stone held magic in many other ways for others throughout time, too. Fine opals were thought to attract large sums of money to its wearer while others believed the depths of the opal could hold and release the power of a magician. The choice of it being good or evil magic being up to the owner of the opal,  according to IGS.
Throughout time, the opal was considered the gem of kings, just like the emerald was, but even with this beautiful connotation something changed in history and these beauties started to get a negative connotation that they were bad luck. This, however, came much later after their days of wonder and worship in the ancient Greek and Roman times. According to IGA and GIA, this came to be because of Sir Walter Scott’s Gothic novel, Anne of Geierstein, that was written in 1892.
In the book, readers learn about a very haunting character named Lady Hermione who wears a stunning opal in her hair. In the book, the stone seems to change colors and react to the Lady’s moods and seems to have power of its own. On the day her daughter was baptized, holy water splashed on the opal and two hours later all that remained of Lady Hermione and her opal were some ashes. This, many believe, is the reason why opals received such a bad and haunting reputation. Also, the lore that says an opal is bad luck to wear unless you are both in October is rumored to get its roots from this book. Along with this lore, according to IGS, many jewelers will refuse to work with it because it is so easy to break, making it seem even more cursed and haunted. What do you think? Do opals hold this kind of power?
Beyond its very interesting past, opals do require some special care. Due to how soft it is, we encourage you to be gentle with the gem. Any blows to the stone can cause it to chip. To help it avoid getting any scratches from other pieces of jewelry or other stationary objects, it should be stored separately. They also should not be exposed to heat or acids. They are very easy to clean, however, you just need to wipe them off with a soft cloth.
What a perfect stone for October! They are stunning for everyone to wear, have a rich history, and even have a few ghost stories and lore attached to it to make it spooky enough to share space with the month that celebrates All Hallows Eve! Have you been thinking about purchasing an opal for your very own or for a loved one? We can help with that! Come in during these last few days of October (or any time!) to find the opal of your dreams, and maybe even find a little mystery too!  Until next time friends, remember to keep calm and rock on!
Joke Of The Day:
What type of rock is a really good friend?
An Opal!