October Birthstone Spotlight: Opal

Oct 02, 2012

Have trouble deciding on which colors to wear? October’s birthstone has it all for you. This milky gemstone is a virtual rainbow of red, green , blue, yellow, and orange flecks caused by reflections of light within the gemstone. Even the name opal is derived from the Greek word “Opallios,” which means “to see a change of color.” This “Queen of gems,” as it was called by Shakespeare, hails mostly from Australia, where the country is responsible for 97% of the world’s supply of opals.

As beautiful as this stone is, the opal has gotten the reputation of being both a lucky and unlucky stone throughout history. The Romans thought of the opal as having the combined beauty of all other gemstones. Nonius, a Roman Senator, opted for exile rather than give up his opal ring to Marc Anthony, who wanted it for Cleopatra.

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In the 18th and 19th centuries the opal started to be associated with famine and disease. It was rumored that if the wearer of an opal was sick, the color of the opal would become more intense with color leading up to that person’s death and then fade after the person died.

The European opal market declined dramatically after the release of a novel called Anne of Geierstein in 1829 by Sir Walter Scott. The story tells of Lady Hermione, who was accused of being a demon. After a drop of Holy Water falls on the enchanted opal in her hair, the color was destroyed and Lady Hermione was found as a pile of ashes the next day. For nearly twenty years following the release of that novel, people associated the opal with death and bad luck. The popularity of opals was revived when a black opal was discovered in Australia in 1877.

The world’s largest and most valuable opal is known as the Olympic Australis, named in honor of the Melbourne Olympic games. It is estimated that over 7,000 carats of opals could be cut from the stone, but it has been left intact due to its uniqueness. The most valuable black opal is the Aurora Australis, a 180 carat oval stone with brilliant blue and red reflections.

Established in 1912, the King family has owned and operated King Jewelers for five generations while building an outstanding reputation steeped in quality, value, and first-class service. Today, King Jewelers has brick-and-mortar stores located in Aventura, FL and Nashville, TN, both of which have won numerous regional and national awards of distinction. Offering a magnificent selection of fine jewelry collections including the hottest Italian designs, estate jewelry, colored gemstones and fancy-colored diamonds, as well as luxury European timepieces, King Jewelers prides itself in being one step ahead of the trend. In addition, King Jewelers offers on-site jewelry and watch repairs, custom design services, appraisals, estate buying, and corporate gift programs. For more information, visit www.kings1912.com.

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