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
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