October Opals

Our favorite October birthstone? Opal! This gemstone looks like many colors depending on the light–a quality which led ancient people to develop many beliefs about the magical powers of opals. Here, a little background on this opulent–and intriguing–gemstone.

 

Opal and Diamond Pendant

Opal and Diamond Pendant

Roman Roots

The ancient Romans were enamored with opals. In the words of 75 AD Roman scholar Pliny, “Some opali carry such a play within them that they equal the deepest and richest colors of painters. Others…simulate the flaming fire of burning sulphur and even the bright blaze of burning oil.”  Opalus–the Roman name for opals–was synonymous with precious stone. Medieval Europeans believed the stone carried all the powers of the other stones whose colors were represented within it. In various other times, they’ve been believed to preserve the color of blonde hair, be a key ingredient for invisibility, and promote more limitless possibilities for the stone’s owner.

 

Opal Stud Earrings

Opal Stud Earrings

The Dark Side

The stone, however, hasn’t always been so universally adored. In the 1800’s, author Sir Walter Scott nearly completely–and unintentionally– derailed the opal industry with the publication of his novel Anne of Geierstein. In it, a baroness accused of being a demoness is killed when a drop of holy water touches her opal–a scene which was widely interpreted to mean that opals in general were unlucky. Many began to view opals as bad luck. In some areas, shopkeepers stopped selling the stone at all–sad news for admirers of the opal.

 

Opal and Diamond Ring

Opal and Diamond Ring

Back Up From Down Under

Interest in opals was revived in the late 1800s, due in part to public interest piqued by the discovery of many large and unusual opals in Australia. Australia quickly became the top producer of opals. Additionally, many scholars–both of literature and of jewels–were beginning to speak out against the anti-opal sentiment spurred by Scott, pointing out both issues with the interpretation of the novel and describing the stone’s beauty.

 

Today, the popularity of opals continues to price, despite the centuries old prejudice. The opal’s complicated, rich history only adds to the charm of this complex and beautiful stone, making it an thoughtful and interesting gift piece. Need more inspiration? Check out the Szul opal collection here!

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Birth Month Gemstones, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s