SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION: Opal is hydrous silica, often with some iron and aluminum. Its chemistry is SiO2.nH2O; amount of water varies up to 10 percent.
It ranges in color from White, yellow, red, pink, brown to gray, blue and even colorless. It is most easily recognized by its rich internal play of colors(opalescence). Its hardness ranges from 5-1/2 to 6-1/2. It is vitreous and pearly. The streak is white. It is not found in crystal form, rather is usually massive, botryoidal, reniform, stalactitic, and/or earthy.
ENVIRONMENT: Opal is a low-temperature mineral and usually develops in a wide variety of rocks as cavity and fracture fillings. It frequently develops as amygdules in basalt and rhyolite of volcanic rock and replaces the cells in wood and the shells of clams.
OCCURRENCE: Common opal is widespread and can be readily obtained at many places, but localities for precious opal are rare and seem to localized in W United States and Mexico. Magnificent examples of opalized wood can be found in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, and lively green fluorescing opal (hyalite) occurs in seams in pegmatites in New England and North Carolina and in cavities in basalt near Klamath Falls, Oregon. Beautiful precious opal, as a replacement in wood, has been obtained in Virgin Valley, Humboldt Co., Nevada. Excellent fire and precious opal occur in lava flows in N Mexico.
Nevada, Australia, and Honduras are sources for black opal; Australia and Czechoslovakia for white opal; Mexico and SW United States for fire opal.
GEMSTONE INFORMATION: Black, dark blue, dark green opal with dark gray body color and fine play of colors is called [black opal;] opal with white or light body color and fine play of color is called [white opal;] and transparent to translucent opal with body color ranging from orange-yellow to red and a play of colors is called [fire opal.] Play of colors depends upon interference of light and is not dependent upon body color. Black opal is the most highly prized, and fire opal is the most valued of the orange and red varieties.
Most opal is fashioned into cabochons, but some fire opals are faceted.
NAME: The word is from the Sanskrit [upala,] meaning “precious stone.”
LEGEND and LORE: Opal is a birthstone for October.
“October’s child is born for woe,
And life’s vicissitudes must know;
But lay an Opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those foes to rest.” (5)
Opals have traditionally been considered “lucky” stones…but only for those born in the month of October. It has been considered bad luck to wear them if you were born in any other month.
MAGICAL PROPERTIES: Opal is considered to be able to confer the gift of invisibility on its wearer. To accomplish this, Cunningham says “The gem was wrapped in a fresh bay leaf and carried for this purpose.” He also says, “Opals are also worn to bring out inner beauty. A beauty spell: Place a round mirror on the altar or behind it so that you can see your face within it while kneeling. Place two green candles on either side of the mirror. Light the candles.
Empower an opal with your need for beauty — while holding the stone, gaze into your reflection. With the scalpel of your visualization, mold and form your face (and your body) to the form you desire. Then, carry or wear the opal and dedicate yourself to improving your appearance.” (2)
HEALING: Opals contain all the colors of the other stones, thus, it could be used in place of any of them. (They are akin to quartz crystals, in this aspect.) Generally speaking, Opal is used more frequently for healing the spirit, rather than the physical body.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Opals are probably my favorite stone. This may be partially due to the fact that they are my birthstone, and I have been surrounded by them all of my life. For me, they are protective and invigorating. I normally use them during Journeying, and when doing “readings” for other…anything where I am using altered states of consciousness. I find that they help me to understand the symbols of my visions in a way that makes them meaningful for others.
1. Scientific, Environment, Occurrence and Name are from (or paraphrased from) “The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals”.
2. Legends and Lore, Magical Properties are from “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic”, by Scott Cunningham.
3. Some of the healing information may come from “Color and Crystals, A Journey Through the Chakras” by Joy Gardner.
4. Personal Experience is from MY personal experience, journals and notebooks, by Tandika Star.
5. Birthday poem from “The Occult and Curative Powers of Precious Stones” by William T. Fernie, M.D.
This stone carries immense quantities of energy, both positive and negative and is thus the stone of fortune and misfortune. It is also called the stone of the Gods since it carries all colors. It represents all four elements. it attracts to the wearer whatever is written on its self. It opens the visionary aspects of the mind and encourages and aids visions and psychic journeying.
It also strengthens memory and revives and clears the mind. It is also used in prophecy and divination by placing over the third eye.
It offers protection from eye diseases ( often by being wrapped in a bay leaf and being placed on the eyelid) It is used to grant wishes and to add to magickal workings. Placed in the left hand it gives affirmation of purpose, in the right hand it will strengthen the work its self. Placed on the forehead, it gives direction to thoughts and gives direct linkage to Mercury.
It provided strong aid when offering help and guidance for others but may be quite negative when used selfishly for ones self. Opals are absorbtive, they pick up energy of every type around them. They do not water. When surrounded by positiveness and security, they are quite clean and they are quite clear and bright but when negativity comes along they become cloudy. They guard a persons honor. They were once considered to be the patron stone of thieves.
Also they keep the hair from going grey and are useful against boils.
Compiled by Lady Hathor – The Silver Circle – Toronto, Ont.
Opal: Stimulates pineal and pituitary glands. aids eyesight. Emotional balanceer. Enhances intuition. the full spectrum of colors resonates with all chakras. Helps conscious connection with highest aspects of being. (4 others depending on color)