Origin of Name: Sanskrit word “upala”, or Greek word opillos, meaning “seeing”
Meaning of the Stone: October Birthstone
Family: Mineraloid, Quartz
Region: boulder opal is found only in Australia
Color: colorless, pink,black, green, blue, red,yellow, brown,orange, purple
Transparency: opaque, transparent
Fracture: Conchoidal to uneven
Hardness (Gravity): 5.5-6(2.15)
Crystal System: Amorphous
Similar Minerals: limonite,sandstone,rhyolite
1. Legend and History:
Opal was considered to be a stone of good luck in ancient times due to the fact that it was believed to posses all the virtues of each gem whose color shows in the various colorations of one opal stone.After the novel of Sir Walter Scott, The Maiden of the Mist, however, in 1829, opal lost it’s “good luck” attribute and was more closely associated to bad luck due to the events in the novel, more specifically the fact that once holy water was poured on the stone, it became colorless and it’s wearer dies shortly after.
Opal however is considered to empower the will of life, and heal parkinson’s disease, infections, fevers, and also strengthen ones memory, but also cleanse the blood and kidneys. In addition, opal is considered to be good for women in labour, as it is said to relief a woman prior to giving birth.
2. Origin in nature and use:
Boulder Opal is found only in Australia where it forms within ironstone boulders, and it is this fact which makes the stone so durable. In addition, as there is a very low water content within the boulder opal, it almost never shows cracks as time passes. When boulder opals are excavated it is necessary, due to the fact that the veins of color are so thin, to keep a back lining of ironstone on the opal; this may look as a doublet but in fact it is an absolutely natural occurrence and allows for the beautiful colorations of this wonderful stone to show.
There are many varieties of opal found around the world, the most valuable being that of black opal.
4. Interesting Facts:
Boulder Opal is the national gemstone of Australia, as it produces the largest percentage of the world’s supply, 97%.
5. Care and Storing:
Boulder opal is highly durable, therefore care and storing is made relatively easy; Cleaning however must be done with caution, and is best to take place with warm water and a soft cloth, though soaking the stone is not recommended.