Etymology, Varieties & History of Opal

Apr 9, 2022

The Beauty and Symbolism of Opal

Opal, a captivating gemstone cherished for its unique play of colors, holds a rich history and fascinating etymology. At Licia B Jewels, we delve into the depths of this precious gem to uncover its varieties and the stories behind them.

The Etymology of Opal

The term "opal" originates from the Latin word "opalus," which finds its roots in the Greek word "opallios" meaning "to see a change of color." This name perfectly encapsulates the mesmerizing optical phenomenon exhibited by opal, known as play of color.

Opals are composed of microscopic silica spheres arranged in a three-dimensional grid. These spheres diffract light, creating a beautiful spectrum of colors that shift and dance as the gem is viewed from different angles.

Opal Varieties

Opals can be classified into various varieties based on their appearance, origin, and unique characteristics. Let's explore some of the renowned opal varieties:

1. White Opal

White opal, also known as light opal, showcases a pale to medium body color with vibrant play of color. It is the most common opal variety found around the world.

2. Black Opal

Black opal is prized for its dark body color, which accentuates the brilliance of its play of color. This variety is predominantly mined in New South Wales, Australia, and is highly sought after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts.

3. Fire Opal

Fire opal, as the name suggests, displays fiery shades of orange, yellow, and red. It is renowned for its translucency and warm, vibrant hues. Fire opals are primarily found in Mexico and are treasured for their intense coloration.

4. Boulder Opal

Boulder opal is characterized by its unique connection with ironstone. This variety forms as thin veins within the host rock, creating a striking contrast between the opal's play of color and the surrounding matrix.

The History of Opal

Opals have mesmerized humanity for centuries, captivating civilizations throughout history. Here are some notable occurrences of opal throughout time:

Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, opals were believed to carry the wearer's virtues and could provide protection. Opals adorned the crowns and jewelry of pharaohs, symbolizing power and prosperity.

Roman Empires

The Romans viewed opal as a symbol of hope and purity. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist, described opal's play of color as a combination of the most beautiful gemstones.

Middle Ages

The Middle Ages saw conflicting beliefs surrounding opals. Some considered them to bring good luck and protect against disease and demons, while others believed they were an evil omen.

Australian Opal Rush

In the late 19th century, a significant opal deposit was discovered in Australia, leading to the "Australian Opal Rush." This discovery brought the world's attention to the mesmerizing black opals found in Lightning Ridge, solidifying Australia's reputation as a premier source for opals.

Unlock the Magic of Opal with Licia B Jewels

At Licia B Jewels, we curate a stunning collection of exquisite opal jewelry, carefully handcrafted to showcase the natural beauty and iridescence of this captivating gemstone. Whether you're seeking a classic white opal necklace or a unique black opal ring, our expert designers ensure each piece reflects the rich history, symbolism, and ethereal allure of opals.

Our Commitment to Quality

As a trusted name in the jewelry industry, Licia B Jewels is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality gemstones and unparalleled craftsmanship. We source our opals ethically and work closely with skilled artisans to create unique designs that stand the test of time.

Explore Our Opal Collection

Visit our eCommerce & Shopping website today to explore our extensive opal collection. Discover the magic and wonder of opals as you browse through our carefully curated pieces. Find the perfect opal jewelry that complements your style and adds a touch of mesmerizing elegance to your ensemble.

Unlock the mysteries, beauty, and symbolism of opal with Licia B Jewels. Shop with us and embrace the enchantment of opals.

Don Stavneak
Opal: A colorful fusion of history and symbolism! 🌈✨
Nov 8, 2023
Dean Villegas
🌈 Fascinating history and symbolism of opal! Truly mesmerizing gemstone! ✨
Oct 16, 2023