The Opal was called "Cupid Paederos" by the Romans, meaning a child beautiful as love. A legend gives the gemstone's origin as “it fell from heaven in a flash of fiery lightning.”
Ancient monarchs treasured Opals, both for their beauty and for their presumed protective powers. They were set into crowns and worn in necklaces to ward off evil and to protect the eyesight. These gemstones were also ground and ingested for their healing properties and to ward off nightmares.
|Opal & Rose Quartz Necklace||Opal Galactic Earrings|
|Swarovski Opal Ring||Watermelon Tourmaline – Alternate October Birthstone|
Most of the world's Opal deposits are found in Southern Australia. Other sources are Brazil, Mexico, Czechoslovakia and Nevada. Quality Opal is very expensive, because it requires special care when cutting, polishing and setting into jewelry.
Alternate Birthstones: Peridot, Agate, Aquamarine, Tourmaline and Sapphire
An alternate birthstone for October, Pink Tourmaline has the seemingly magical property of pyroelectricity. Scientifically speaking, this means that when heated, the gem takes on a static electric charge, making it capable of attracting lightweight objects.
|Purple Opal Euro Charm Bead||Blue Peru Opal Labradorite Bracelet|
- Opals are delicate, but well worth the care. Their most significant weakness has to do with the water content. If an opal is allowed to dry, it will crack and craze. In most cases, they do not need any special care while stored. However, if you live in a very dry climate, or keep them in a dehumidified room, some precautions are necessary. Keeping them in a tight plastic bag, with a damp piece of cotton or fabric will prevent dehydration.
- Storing an opal in oil or glycerin is not recommended. It is unlikely to damage the opal, but it is unnecessary and requires tedious cleaning.
- Because of their water content, opals are also highly sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. I know of a woman in Pennsylvania who wore a brooch on the outside of her coat. As she passed from the warmth of her house to the winter cold, there was an audible "crack" as her opal self-destructed.
- Opals do not mind being hot or cold, it is the rate of change that damages them. You need to avoid situation like the one above, going from a warm house to the winter's cold. Simply wearing an opal under clothing will protect them. Also, do not store opals near a heat source, an open window, etc., where they can be exposed to sudden temperature changes.
- Being somewhat soft, they scratch easily. Realize that a large component of dust is quartz at 7 in hardness. At 5.5 to 6 in hardness, simply wiping the dust off an opal will gradually reduce its polish. The solution is to clean your opals using a soft cloth or brush, a mild detergent, and room temperature water. Then rinse the jewels to remove any residue.
A gift of Opal is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence. And the powerful energy radiating from this fiery gemstone will surely illuminate any occasion!
Opals correspond to the astrological sign of Libra - The sign of the Scales - September 23 - October 23
Opal October birthstone originally appeared on Linda B’s blog