Opal Myths, Meaning, and Significance

Opal gemstones are one of the world’s most unique and mysterious precious stones, so it’s easy to understand why their history is full of myths and legends.

Opal myths and legends

Opal was once a highly prized gemstone by the ancient Romans – they believed it represented the combined beauty of all precious gems. The ancient Greeks believed opal came from the tears of Zeus, the God of lightning, after his defeat of the Titans. Similarly, Arabic legends say opal fell from the sky amid flashes of lightning. Sometimes cultures credited opal with supernatural origins and powers. For example, ancient Greeks believed opals gave their owners protection from disease, particularly skin disorders and eye ailments.

Perhaps one of the most interesting legends is that of the Indian Goddess of the Rainbow. It is said she was so beautiful that she became overwhelmed with the attention of male suitors. In a desperate act of escape, she turned herself into a stunning rainbow-colored opal. 

Today, opal remains prized for its vibrance and unique play-of-color (the ability to diffract light into flashes of rainbow color). The finest opals display all the colors of the spectrum over the stone’s entire surface.

Obscura Ombré Sapphire Lavender Opal Ring

Obscura Ombré Sapphire Lavender Opal Ring from NIXIN

Are opals bad luck?

You may have heard that wearing opals will bring you bad luck, but that’s simply untrue. Throughout history, opals were thought to bring the wearer good luck. In fact, ancient Romans believed opals were one of the luckiest gemstones in the world and considered them symbols of hope, fidelity and purity. During the mid 1300s, opals became associated with the Black Plague due to a rumor that a victim was wearing an opal that went dull after she passed. It’s more likely, however, that the opal simply deteriorated from neglect. Opals are softer and more porous than other gems but can last a lifetime with the proper opal care and attention.

They had another brief fall from grace after an 1829 novel written by Sir Walter Scott entitled Anne of Geierstein. At that time, it was customary for authors to release one chapter at a time. It was a story of a woman who is falsely accused of being a demoness and dies soon after a drop of holy water accidentally falls upon her opal, destroying its color. The public, having likely not read the entire book to learn she was actually poisoned, misinterpreted this as a warning from the author that opals may bring misfortune to whoever wears them. It was nearly 59 years before the reputation of opals was restored with the discovery of a breathtaking black opal found in South Wales, Australia.

Black Opal Broad Color Spectrum

Black opals are exceptionally rare and valuable, due to their dark body tone and the resulting vibrant play of color. To date, they have only been found in Australia however a similar aesthetic is sometimes fashioned using a doublet or triplet technique.  While also beautiful, doublets and triplets require different care than solid opals, given their layered formation.

If you’re looking for a crystal opal ring or lavender opal statement piece that will bring you years of enjoyment and maybe even a dash of good luck, visit our shop and explore our extraordinary selection of opal rings for women. We also have ready to ship opal jewelry for you to order. Nicki, Founder and Designer of NIXIN Jewelry, meticulously transforms these vibrant gemstones into one-of-a-kind pieces fit for a goddess—like you.

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