Opals! What’s the Story Behind this Magical Stone?

October 20, 2020

Opals! What’s the Story Behind this Magical Stone?

If you’re lucky enough to be born in October, you have not just one, but two beautiful gemstones associated with your birth month, Opal and Tourmaline. This week we’ll take a peek at the Opal.

5 Things you probably never knew about Opal:

What’s in a name?

The name “Opal” may have originated in India, the source of the earliest opals that made their way to the United States. In Sanskrit it was called Upala, meaning “precious stone”.  Later, in ancient Rome, Upala evolved to become Opalus, which eventually became Opal.



Here’s the down low.

What do opals mean? It depends who you ask! While the Bedouins believed that opals fell from the sky during thunderstorms, and that they carried lightning, the Greeks thought opals provided protection from disease. Opals have long been associated with purity, hope and truth. Maybe it’s a combination of everything! You decide.


Where is home?  

Opals can be found in so many places around the world. Australia is probably number one on the list for mining opals. According to the GIA, “Lightning Ridge, a small town in New South Wales, Australia, is famed for producing prized black opal. A dry and rocky region, softened only by small trees and scrub brush, Lightning Ridge gets little rain and bakes in the scorching summer temperatures. The climate is so unforgiving that miners often live underground to find respite from the punishing heat.” White opal can be found in southern Australia in the towns of Coober Pedy, Mintabie and Andamooka, whereas the beautiful and unique boulder opal comes from Queensland alone. Among the other notable countries that mine opal are Ethiopia, Mexico and Brazil.


 Mine shaft warning sign in Coober Pedy South Australia

Mine shaft warning sign in Coober Pedy South Australia

Oooh that color!

Most commonly known for their ever-changing rainbow hues, a phenomenon known as “play-of-color”, these beautiful gems can be found in a wide range of colors, including white, yellow, orange, brownish red and brown. The fire opal, found in Mexico, aptly gets its name from the sizzling hues of yellow, orange and red.


Show it some love.

Like with most gemstones, it's safest to clean your opal jewelry with warm water and a mild soap. To keep your opals looking new and beautiful, it's best to avoid harsh cleaning methods that might damage the stone. Because opals are softer, by comparison, to diamonds or sapphires for example, it’s best to store them in a bag or case by themselves, to avoid scratches. They’ll be fine alone!


Let’s Connect! 

Have more questions about opals or maybe a custom piece of jewelry? I’d love to chat about your ideas and bring your vision to life. Take a few minutes to fill out my custom inquiry form here and set up a time for your free consultation.