All evidence demonstrates that throughout history opal has been
regarded as the stone of good fortune.
In this century, however, it has been suggested by some that opals are
an unlucky stone, this is based on a misunderstanding.
There can be little doubt
that much of the modern superstition regarding the supposed unlucky
quality of the opal owes its origin to a careless reading of Sir Walter
Scott's novel "Anne of Geierstein". The wonderful tale contains nothing
to indicate that Scott really meant to represent opal as unlucky. Scott
used an opal to reflect brilliantly the changing fortunes of the
heroine but this was unappreciated by a world of literary flunkies, who
in their own minds conjured up the idea that the opal could have
properties of evil influence, the result was remarkably absurd. Twelve
months after the publication of Scott's novel, opal was down to half
its former high value and falling rapidly out of fashion, such was the
superstition that opal is unlucky.
In Roman times the gem was carried as a good luck charm or talisman, as
it was believed that the gem, like the rainbow, brought its owner good
fortune. It was referred to as the "Cupid Stone" because it suggested
the clear complexion of the God of Love.
In the seventh century it was believed that opals possessed magical
properties and centuries later Shakespeare was attributed with the
description of opal as "that miracle and queen of gems". The Arabs
believed that they fell from the sky and the Orientals referred to them
as "The Anchor of Hope", lucky opal the stone of hope, the birthstone
Opal is precious
Precious high quality opal is rare. Today, high quality Black Opal
rivals diamonds in value and ranks as one of the most precious of all
the gems. Many gem lovers and investors around the world now regard
fine Black Opal as the most precious of gems.
Top quality precious opal is so valuable that US $100 million worth of
opal could be spread over a dinner table and most of the table would
Of all gemstones found in Australia the opal holds pride of place and
it's quality is admittedly the best in the world. The play of colour,
intensity and variety of pattern bring infinitely superior to opal
There are five main types of Australian opal: White opal, Crystal opal,
Black opal, Boulder opal and opal Matrix.
Black opal was first mined at Lightning Ridge, New South Wales in 1903.
Opal derived its name from "Opalus" which meant "to see change of
colour". They were popularized by the Romans and this early opal is
thought to have come from "Cernowitz" a mountainous region in Hungary,
Mark Anthony loved opal. Indeed, it is said that he so coveted an opal
owned by Senator Nonius that Mark Anthony banished the Senator after he
refused to sell the almond sized stone , reputed to be worth 2,000,000
Sesterce (US $80,000).
Precious opal has been used in the crowns of kings, the crown jewels of
France and the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. Napoleon presented his
Empress Josephine with the "Burning of Troy" a magnificent opal with
brilliant red flashes. Queen Victoria became a lover of opal and wore
opals throughout her reign, her friends and her five daughters were
frequently presented with fine opals.
As early as the first century A.D. the Roman Pliny wrote: "For in them
you shall see the living fire of ruby, the glorious purple of the
amethyst, the sea green of the emerald, all glittering together in an
incredible mixture of light."
No other gemstone can display all the colours of the spectrum in such
an infinite variety of shades, patterns and brilliance. No two black
opals are identical.