Five Fun Facts About Opals

Opal Rings

At Laurelle Antique Jewellery we are passionate about opal jewellery. Regardless of how a particular piece has been crafted it is the unique beauty of the opal itself which makes it truly special. We’d like to share some fun facts about these wondrous precious stones!

There are many different types of opal

The most common and recognisable type of opal is known as the white opal. In these stones the base colour is a semi translucent white which is flecked with colourful, iridescent patterns that shift in the light. Although these stones are likely what most people think of when they picture an opal there are staggeringly different varieties.

Black opal, in which the base colour is dark, exhibits different colour plays which often include a shockingly vibrant almost neon green. Gem quality black opals are the rarest form of the stone, but there are many other types that command a high price due to their unique characters. Green opal can resemble jade, pink opal is a salmon colour and purple opal is close to the opaque form of amethyst. There are many other colours, but arguably the most intense is the bright orange fire opal which is commonly found in Mexico.

Opal varieties

They have astrological significance

Opal has been the official birthstone for the month of October since the National Association of Jewellers confirmed its status in 1912, making it a popular gift for those born in this month.

It is also associated with the zodiac signs Scorpio and Libra, and is believed to be lucky for individuals who bear these star signs.

Opals are also given as gifts to celebrate a 14th wedding anniversary.

They exhibit their own particular visual effect

The structures that flow through the heart of most opals change colour and manifest different shapes as light plays across them. This inner fire is so unique that it is named “opalescence” after the stone.

Although there are many gemstones that exhibit idiosyncratic reactions to light there are none which are as stark as the opal. Colours can shift between fiery red and sky blue, with almost every other colour represented.

Opal Diamond Ring

They bring good luck

Opals have been historically valued as much for the belief that they bring good fortune as their beauty. This belief was prevalent in the middle ages, but its origin is far older. The Ancient Romans associated the opal with the rainbow, its rarity, unpredictability and beauty. They also associated it with Cupid, their god of love, with true love being one of the most fortunate circumstances to find in life.

Shakespeare once wrote that the opal was the "queen of gems", and a "miracle", which shows how these connotations of wondrous events have persisted over the centuries.

Opal Rings Worn

There are opals on Mars

Many people are aware that NASA’s Curiosity rover has reported that there is water on the red planet. Much of this water is contained in ice beneath the surface, however the initial reason for testing for these subterranean glaciers was the discovery of substances that can only form with moisture present.

Surface rocks were initially discovered that were a variety of hydrated silica – the exact same chemical composition that makes up opals. As water is vital for life as we know it this lends some credibility to the theory that Mars once supported life and may do so again in the future. Any manned colony which may be set up on the planet may well have to invent processes for extracting moisture from opal deposits in order to survive.

There is no need to make a trip to other parts of our solar system to find your own beautiful opals. At Laurelle Antique Jewellery we have a wide selection of antique opal jewellery which showcase the beauty of this stone in works of wearable art that have stood the test of time.

Opal Jewellery

If you have any questions about the pieces which we sell feel free to get in touch on England: 0333 700 4500 or send us an email via Our team is always happy to help!