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OPAL

Dates back to the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs roamed the earth. It was formed as Silica from decomposing rocks mixed with ground water, collected, and petrified in underground cavities.In ancient times, opal had been regarded as the luckiest and most magical of all the gem's because of its' ability to showcase a multitude of colours. The Greeks of old believed the stone to give it's bearer the powers of foresight and prophecy. The Arabs of Mohammed's time were quite enamored of the gem, and were convinced they were carried to earth on bolts of lightning.

One myth (probably of Greek origin) tells of a storm god throwing a bolt of lightning at the rainbow that ended his storm. The subsequent explosion of colours fell to the earth, embedding themselves in the rocks, creating the opal. In the 1300's, opal was the most popular gem used for jewelry in Europe. When the Black Plague struck, people believed that a recently inflicted person's opal would flare up and then totally lose its' colour upon their death. Apparently, Louis XIV of France even got in on the slandering of opal's good name by naming each of his horse-drawn coaches after gems. Opal's driver, known to rarely drive sober, would get into many accidents. It was viewed as an unlucky coach to travel in. The final nail in the coffin came in the 19th century when Sir Walter Scott's novel, "Anne of Geirstein" depicted an opal as the sole reason to the protagonist's anguish. Although the "bad luck" incidences are later explained in the same writing, the opal's reputation stayed as being unlucky.

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