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As an opal changes its colours and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I– John Steinbeck
As the queen of the gems, the fragile opal has a complex personality and history. The symbolism of opals is as much of a kaleidoscope as the gemstone’s unique play of colour. The talisman of luck and magic, opal celebrates the birth month of October and 14 years of marriage.
As a mineral from millions of tiny amorphous silica spheres, the opal is distinctive with markings, its colourful flecks presenting a rainbow iridescent play of colours to showcase different patterns and hues in the light. The unique opalescence offers rainbow like flashes in a kaleidoscope of hues, and the symbolism attached to it makes it an intriguing and arresting gem. The opal takes on many shapes and hues, the rainbow colours of blue, red, yellow, green and purple exotic, poetic descriptions.
Join us as we deep dive into the wonderful world of iridescent opulence with Over The Rainbow: Opal Jewellery Fashion.
There are worlds in an opal
The history of opals
The luminous opal can be traced as far back to the Sanskrit word Upala meaning “precious stone”. It would evolve into the Greek derivative Opallis and Roman Opalus meaning “change of colour”.
In Greek mythology, opals were considered the tears of Zeus after the defeat of the titans. The opal was believed to give the gift of prophecy while protecting from disease.
The Indian virgin Goddess of the Rainbow was turned to opal by the Mother Goddess to protect her against the romantic advances of Indian Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Persians believed the stones fell from the sky, imbued by the flashes of lighting that bought them to earth.
Following the plague, the gem became associated with the Black Death where stories stirred across Europe of a patient’s opal burning with colour losing its brilliance after their death. This narrative would be taken on by Sir Walter Scott’s novel Anne of Geuerstein.
Tragic main character Lady Hermoine is accused as a demoness and dying after a drop of holy water fell onto her opal, destroying its colour. The novel demonised the opal, with the opal market crashing within months of the book’s release.
The discovery of black opal from New South Wales in the 1870s some 50 years later would revive the market. Prince Albert would design many pieces for Queen Victoria with the Queen gifting her daughters the gems for their wedding.
The earth writes its memoir in each opal
The psychology of opals
The inner colours of opal attract the forces for good luck and protection, representing hope, innocence and purity, faithfulness and loyalty.
The opal has the reputation of amplifying traits for transformation. A stone for love and passion, opals release our inhibitions of seduction, desire and eroticism for sexual harmony.
As the protective gem for dangerous places, opals stand for justice and harmony, its inner play of dancing fire sparking dynamic creativity.
Symbolic to the eye, the opal is commonly associated with the imagination and the future. Bestowing the gift of unfailing vision, the stone is worn as a cure to eye diseases with powers to boost the mind and memory while detoxifying our kidneys and liver to improve our immunity. Opals seep into our energies, cleansing negativity from our mind, spirit, emotions and body.
Said to possess magical properties, the opal is the protector of thieves and spies, rendering the wearer invisible – as a sparklier version of Harry’s Cloak of Invisibility. The darkness and depth of opals set in wands increased the powers of magicians and sorcerers.
Opals and fashion
While iridescence and reticulation seems to fit better in the world of party decorations, rulers, discos and rave gear, shine will always have its moment. Iridescence celebrates all things that shimmer and glow. The pearly, glossy, shimmery unicorn colour story is playful, sleek and edgy – all at once. While we are unlikely to add full length reticulated coats and entire iridescent outfits to our everyday wardrobe, splashes of the sheen will add instant intrigue to our style.
Opals love fashion, blending in easily to our everyday look with an edge of intrigue. Simultaneously bold and delicate, opals instantly add special flair with its subtle flashing hues and unique shine. The simplicity and minimalism of opals especially love the office and special occasions, elevating casual style easily. Use its distinctive rainbow colours to brighten up a minimal look of black, greys or neutrals.
Some opali carry such a play within them that they equal the deepest and richest colours of painters. Others…simulate the flaming fire of burning sulphur and even the bright blaze of burning oil– Pliny
Opal fashion jewellery
Opals have been worn by some of the world’s most famous historical figures. From Holy Roman Emperors to Empress Josephine, Victoria, Elizabeth II, Dutch Maxima, Danish Crown Princess Mary and even Hawaiian King Kalakaua, opals have sparkled in crowns, ears and necks. Even Mark Antony wanted to gift a Slovakian opal to Cleopatra.
Light opals are striking against dark hair and skin tones while darker opals stand out on lighter – silver and opal especially bring out the best in blue eyes.
Opal’s unique simplicity works best with clean designs. Statement drop opal earrings will immediately draw attention to the face. A statement opal pendent will highlight the neckline.
Want office sophistication? Silver with White Opal or gold with the rainbow-like iridescence of AB Aurora Borealis offers a feminine pearly shimmer.
Opal adores blonde hair, its properties said to preserve the pure colour by adding magical lustre to pale locks. Medieval Germans and Scandinavians were renown for wearing European opals set in their hair pins.
Perfect for anniversaries and birthdays, opals highlight our entire look and add a dash of sophistication and elegance. Self-confidence and the right attitude opens every door; as the stone boosting happiness, faithfulness, loyalty and confidence, opal jewellery will always take your look to the next level, adding layers of style and colour.
Mysterious opals contain the wonders of the skies– Jerry Smith