Opal: Discoball or Gemstone?

Any party light will fail against this! Red, blue, green or yellow - no gemstone comes close to the color spectacle of a real opal gemstone. Why Opal is not your typical gemstone and why you should be especially careful with opal jewelry, you can find out here.


Origin of Name and Places of Discovery

The name was derived from the Latin name "opalus". This originates in turn from the Greek word "opallios". It means something like "to see a change". The opal gemstone belongs to the very rarely found gemstones. A main finding place is in New South Wales at the Lightning Ridge. In addition, Mintabie in South Australia, Mexico, Indonesia and the USA are considered as places of discovery.

Opal Gemstone: Appearance & Chemical Structure

What many don't know: The beautiful opal gemstone is actually not a classic gemstone at all, formed from crystallized substance - but rather a hardened gel. Opals are formed out of hardened silica gel. It consists of many small spheres that lie close together. An Opal contains up to 20% water.


The Opal shines in rainbow colors and is known for its colorful flecks that shimmer in seemingly every shade. This absolutely unique play of colors is also called opalescence. An opal always looks different and each individual opal gemstone shimmers in its own colors. When moving, the shimmering colors change and you can watch a spectacle of beautiful and dancing colors. There are many different types of opals. Black opals are especially rare.

On the Mohs scale, which determines the hardness of stones, the Opal only achieves a 5.5 out of 10, which means it is only half as robust as a diamond, for example. Therefore, anyone who likes to wear opals as jewelry should take special care. They are rather soft and therefore much more delicate than other gemstones.


Opal History

The opal gemstone appears in many myths and legends. In Greek mythology, opals were considered the tears of Zeus, the father of all gods. In ancient times, opal was believed to give clairvoyant powers. It was the symbol of hope, love and inspiration. 

Indigenous peoples called the opal "Goddess of the Rainbow" and in the Middle Ages women wore the opal, because they wanted to protect their hair from color loss. As you can see, the color variety of opal has always fascinated and inspired people.

Opal gemstone: Use in Jewelry

Due to its extraordinary colors, the healing stone is also particularly popular as a piece of jewelry. Even in ancient times, opals were worn as amulets, earrings, pendants, etc. Many opals are naturally very colorful and intense. However, some are reworked to bring out their full splendor. They are often treated with sugar acid. The method of smoking the opal has also proven successful.

When processed into jewelry, the stone is sometimes left in its natural form, but often it is additionally cut into a specific shape. It is also often worn or processed in combination with other healing stones.

Discover our Opal ring ONDA, 18 carat Gold Vermeil

Spiritual Meaning

In the spiritual realm, gemstones have a very specific symbolism. As a healing stone, Opal is said to bring an uplifting effect, driving away negativity and inhibitions. Spiritualists believe that the Opal motivates and helps against listlessness and inertia. 

It strengthens the spontaneity of the owner and has an inspiring effect. Feelings are intensified and the joy of life is awakened. Opal is also very popular in alternative medicine. It is often used to help with eye problems or vision disorders, as the colorful play of colors is said to have a positive effect on vision.

Opal Gemstone in Astrology

In astrology, certain gemstones are assigned to specific zodiac signs. Opal is the birthstone of everyone born in October. Thus, it is said to bring good luck especially to those born in Libra and Scorpio. It also has a particularly important and strong effect on the zodiac signs of Pisces, Gemini and Cancer.


Opal Imitations

Due to the rarity of opals, in earlier times they were seen as a sign of wealth and were even more sought after than diamonds. Opals were very expensive and not easy to get. Thus, they were greatly admired. Due to their rarity, the gemstones are often faked still today. Especially with jewelry, one should pay attention to the authenticity of the stone.

A strong unnatural shimmer and a very cheap price speak for a fake opal. Also, if you can see only a little color play, you assume it is a fake opal, too. Also, beware of the name "opalite".

This is a pretty shimmering glass, also called opal glass, not a real gemstone. However, there is one exception: There is the so-called Green Opalite, which is an olive green, non-transparent real gemstone. This, however, has nothing to do with an Opal.

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