Along with the alternate birthstone tourmaline, opal is the modern birthstone for October and the traditional birthstone for the Zodiac sign of Libra.
With its magic play of light and color, a fine opal represents the splendor of Nature; fire, lightning, colors of the rainbow and the shine of the far seas…
The origin of the name opal lies in the Greek term ‘opallios’ translating as ‘color change’. In the days of the Roman antiquity, there existed a so-called ‘opalus’ or a ‘stone from several elements’ which indicates the ancient Romans’ early awareness of opal’s fascinating light and color play, known in modern gemology as the ‘opalizing effect’.
The Greek believed that opal gave foresight and prophecy to its owner provided the stone was not used selfishly! Opal was also considered effective in strengthening love relationships, with the exception of cases in which loyalty and truthfulness were absent!
Numerous legends surround this colorful gemstone, which can be traced back to the ancient time of Australian aborigines.
One tale recounts that the creator came down to earth on a rainbow to bestow peace upon all human beings and, as his feet touched the ground, all stones beneath them began sparkling in all the colors of the rainbow. That, according to the legend, was the birth of the opals…
Relatively unknown and rarely used until mid-nineteenth century, opals were developed by gemstone cutters of Idar Oberstein in Germany and became one of the most popular gemstones in Europe, reaching their highest popularity in the 1920′s Art Deco era.
Tourmaline, the alternate birthstone for October, is a gemstone with a broad spectrum of color. Pink tourmaline was for centuries misidentified as ruby such as a huge and famous pink tourmaline belonging to the Russian Empress Catherine the Great.