The origin of the name opal is often thought to be derived from Sanskrit, meaning “precious stone,” and then later by the Greek derivative “Opallios,” meaning “to see a change of color”. Many familiarize opals with iridescent flecks of multi-color shimmer, but there’s more to opal than meets the eye.
Appearance: Opals come in many varieties, including black opal, Ethiopian opal, Peruvian opal and white opal, among others. Cloudy and milky stones are not as popular or valuable as transparent stones with unique patterns and play on color. Eye-catching, multidimensional opals are considered precious.
Origin: More than 90% of the world’s opals come from Australia, but they also inhabit Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil. However, white opal, boulder opal and black opal are most commonly mined in Australia.
Fun Facts About Opal:
- Celebrating your 14th year of marriage? Give the gift of opal!
- Many believe opals are formed from rain seeping into a rock’s cracks. Once inside the rock, the water evaporates, and the silica left behind dries out and hardens into opal.
- Queen Victoria favored opal over any other gemstone.
- The light refraction of opal comes from tiny silica spheres of various sizes.
- The Boulder opal is the only variety that can display an entire rainbow of colors in just one single stone.
- Opals are out of this world! Opal is one of the few gemstones to have been found on another planet (Mars, to be exact).
Opal’s Powers & Healing Benefits:
- Move over superstition and bad luck (thanks, Sir Walter Scott), because opal is now thought to help enhance confidence and self-esteem.
- Opal is an emotional gemstone, and it can reflect the mood of its wearer.
- Opal ignites creativity and originality in one’s work.
- Feeling flaky? Opal can help give you a surge of loyalty–a Scorpio’s best attribute!
- Feel peace within your opal. This gemstone can help you rid of anger.
- Opal increases one’s feeling of freedom and independence.
Opal in Pop Culture:
- With more and more alternative wedding rings on the market, opal stones are now a popular pick over the traditional diamond.
- Opals are also a common pick for celebrities on the red carpet! Claire Danes Sophia Bush, Taylor Swift, Sara Paulson and Heidi Klum are among the wide array of stars who love rocking opals.
Famous Figures with October Birthdays:
- Gwen Stefani
- Zac Posen
- Ralph Lauren
- Donna Karan
- Isaac Mizrahi
- John Lennon
- Oscar Wilde
- Winona Ryder
Now it’s your turn to create opal-inspired jewelry this October at Bead Fest Tacoma!
Line Fold Cuff | Marti Brown
Discover the magical properties of niobium that create vivid colors through anodizing! Then cut, file, line fold and texture your bracelet to your personal taste.
Tidal Wave Bracelet | Sarah Thompson
Learn to sculpt and add dimension as you weave this stunning bracelet! Each student will have the freedom to create and embellish their piece based on their individual style.
Argentium Spinner Ring | Janet Alexander
Discover the fundamentals of soldering Argentium silver and sterling silver metals, reminiscent of opal’s iridescent shine, with expert Janet Alexander.
Stock up on amazing opals in Bead Fest Tacoma’s Expo!
Shop these exhibitors onsite:
- Dakota Stones: Gemstones by type, color and shape
- Beads Creation: Natural gemstone beads, semi precious beads, findings and supplies
Plus, check out one of our sponsors, Bollywood Beads, for even more gemstones (like opal!) online.
We’re sending happy birthday vibes to all of you out there celebrating a birthday this month! But even if you’re not an October babe, we encourage you to experience the magic of opal. And if you’re trying to boost your gemstone collection, it’s not too late for you to join us this Ocotber 26-29 in Tacoma, WA!