This month's birthstone comes in so many different beautiful varieties. A few of the opals I love working with are Australian boulder opal, ethiopian opal, mexican fire opal, pink opal and dendritic opal. Opal has a long history according to Robert Simmons' Book of Stones, one of my favorite crystal books. Opals were mined at least as long ago as the fourteenth century. Mexican Fire Opal was used by the Aztecs and was brought to Europe by the conquistadors. In nineteenth century Europe Opal became less popular because of the association with bad luck. In Roman civilization, Opal was linked with good luck and hope. The belief in France that Opal could render its wearer invisible allowing them to steal without being caught, may have been the beginning the the negative association. An Australian legend says a gigantic Opal governs the stars, human love and the gold within the mines. Current metaphysical thinking gives each type of Opal different energetic properties.
Pink Opal often comes from Peru and is believed to clear and calm the heart and bring a sense of peace and tranquility. It can help with sleep and nightmares. It can help discharge past trauma and tension.
Dendritic opal is named due to its internal collection of dendrites. Dendrites are fern-like inclusions of iron, manganese, or other metallic oxides that create bold patterns within the gem. Typically, dendritic opals are cut into slices to best exhibit nature's artwork. As you might guess, these pieces are one-of-a-kinds, as no two dendritic patterns are exactly the same. Usually these opals are white, yellow, blue, green or pink and show the black inclusions well.
Opals are classified by common opals, precious opals or rainbow opals. The more vibrant opals with light, flash and rainbows fall in to the precious and rainbow categories. White precious opal can intensify emotions and purify. It has an intense spiritual energy. It is a water element stone and works with all chakras. Black precious opal is used for manifestation and amplification. It is a stone of magic and mystery. It is a storm element stone and works with the root and crown chakras.
Growing up I always thought Opal was kind of boring but as I was shown all the different varieties I definitely changed that opinion. It was Australian boulder opals that really got my excited to design with the stone again. On my Tuscon trip earlier this year I got to see the most beautiful Opals I have ever seen and wished that I could afford to buy them all. There was one vendor who had Opals that were carved by Balinese wood carvers that actually stopped me in my tracks when I was walking one of the shows because they were like nothing I had ever seen before.
Whether you were born in October or not I hope this post gets you more excited about all the colors and varieties that are out there, because some of the ones I have seen truly feel like magic.