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Opal - Symbolic Meaning and Gemstone Care

The Meaning of Opals

There are as many traditional meanings associated with opals as there are colors in this fiery gemstone. At different points in history, they have been considered bad luck and good luck. Sir Walter Scott’s 1829 novel "Anne of Geierstein" gave Opal a bad name by associating the stone with malevolent powers. This caused the market for Opals to drop until Queen Victoria, who loved the iridescent stone, gifted Opals to all her daughters as wedding gifts and their popularity once again flourished.

Haverhill Greenwich 5 Opal Ring and Rosecliff Pink Tourmaline Stackable Ring. The rings sit a little apart, letting some skin show between the designs.

The name Opal comes from the Sanskrit word, upala (उपल), which means 'jewel'. We like to think of Opals as the “Queen of Gems” following the ancient lore that Opals contain the powers of all the gemstones since their all colors are contained within this one stone. Its fiery tones spark creativity, and symbolize hope, purity and truth.

HAVERHILL Greenwich Opal and Diamond Ring in yellow Gold and Opal and Diamond Earring in yellow gold

Since ancient times, humans have associated gemstones with healing properties and spiritual significance.

Opals - Gemstone Knowledge

Opals are formed when deposits of silica fill cavities in sedimentary or igneous rock. They get their “fire” from light reflecting off of tiny spheres of cristobalite within the silica gel. This color play is also known as iridescence (not to be confused with the term opalescence, which is not used with opals, oddly enough but Moonstones).

Loose cut opal gemstones scattered on a grey background

Pink Opals

The soft opaque shades of Pink Opal offer another beautiful opal option. Pink Opals, or common opals, are composed of predominantly dolomite, but often also contain minerals such as quartz and chalcedony. They do not display the color variations of silica formed opals, instead displaying an even, soft light pink color. These calming stones are often used in meditation and are believed to aid in emotional and spiritual healing.

Loose round cut pink opal gemstones scattered on a white background

Caring for your Opal Jewelry

Opal is rated 5.5 - 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning it is one of the most fragile gemstones used in jewelry. In 1822 Friedrich Mohs created this scale to rate gemstones from 1 (softest) to 10 (exceptionally hard), based on their ability to withstand scratches. Opals can be scratched by gemstones which are harder on the Mohs Scale such as Rubies, Emeralds, Sapphires, and Diamonds, so store your Opal jewelry in your jewelry pouch or box to keep the gemstone from being scratched by these harder stones.

Blond woman in blue shirt wearing HAVERHILL Greenwich 4 Opal Earrings.

Since Opal is one of the most fragile gemstones used in jewelry, it requires special care.

Styling Tips for Opal Jewelry

Depending on the season, these Greenwich 5 Opal & Diamond Earrings evoke an icy snowflake when paired with a warm sweater, or an early spring blossom when worn with a light and breezy floral dress.

A blonde woman in a knit hat wearing a Greenwich 5 Opal & Diamond Earring

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FAQ

Is Opal the only birthstone for October?

I am buying jewelry with several Opals - will they look the same?

Should I choose white gold or yellow gold for the setting for my Opals?

Should I only wear Opal if it is my birthstone?