Birthstone showcase – Opal

Birthstone showcase – Opal

Opals are the national gem of Australia. Unlike diamonds, these gems are not made of one pure substance. The variety of elements present in opals often creates unique colours and characteristics. Let’s discuss this amazing stone and some of the unique history surrounding it.

History

Opals, for a long time in Europe, were considered bad luck or connected with witchcraft. The main perpetrator of this was an author – Sir Walter Scott. He wrote a novel where a demoness had holy water ruin her opal’s colour. This one story effectively halted the opal market for 50 years.

It was Australia that actually revived opals to the world. In 1877, the black opal was discovered in New South Wales and the world loved it. Since then, the negative view on opals have stopped.

Opals, because of their multiple colours, have a lot of myths and legends surrounding them. Oftentimes, a colour symbolises a trait or power. Some consider opals as an all-encompassing stone that harnesses all power. Others, a stone of purity.

Whatever one’s position is, this stone can fit a variety of jewellery pieces because of its various hues.

Opals are one of the few gemstones that have been found in outer space. Mars expeditions have discovered this gem and this is also why some cultures believe opal is the stone that encompasses all stones.

Opals as jewellery

With a low density and vibrancy of colours, opals are excellent stones for jewellery. They are often cut into many shapes and are typically suited for necklaces. Owning an opal jewellery piece truly is one of a kind – because no two opals are ever the same.

Because there is such variety in opal colour, style and clarity, there is also a variety in their worth. Some opals are relatively cheap, while others are highly luxurious.

Some opals are clear and look just like other gemstones, while other opals can have milky or fiery styles. Depending on the exact type of opal, the type of cut will be determined. Specific cuts will help retain the opal’s beauty.

Inclusions in opals can help provide the effect of “moss.” This makes the stone look like there are miniature trees growing inside it.

These inclusions can make many different patterns such as fire, peacock, stars, squares, floral, lines and even windmill.

Some of the most famous and largest opals are sourced from Australia. The Aurora Australis was found in NSW and is the most valuable black opal.

Another prized opal is “The Queen’s Opal.” It was presented to Queen Elizabeth II upon her first visit to Australia. It has since been set in a necklace.


Unique stones like opals deserve to be highlighted every now and then. You can choose to believe the lore and mysticism surrounding opals.

Opal gemstone infographic

But all we know is that this Australian treasure makes memorable jewellery pieces – especially when combined with another Australian gem, the illustrious pink diamond.

For more information about Australian opals or diamond pieces, visit our Sydney CBD boutique today.