Opal is a birthstone for October.
A fragile and sensitive stone, Opal precipitates from a silica rich solution, leaving a solid gel in small veins or crusts or nodules in sandstone or limestone. Opal may contain up to 30% water, and its color play or "opalescence" is caused by globules of the silica mineral Cristobalite suspended in layers of the stone. Opal has many forms and colors. The basic groups are common opal, the red fire opal and the precious opals that include white, black, boulder, crystal and others. In 1889 Australia's rich opal deposits were discovered in New South Wales. In 1915 Coober Pedy began production of White precious opal, and in 1903 Black Opal was found at Lightning Ridge. Since then, Australia has continued to produce fine opals. Honduras, Mexico and Peru are modern sources. In the U.S., Virgin Valley, Nevada, Idaho and Oregon are sites of opal collecting.
The name Opal derives from Sanskrit "Upala" for valuable stone. It was thought of as the "Goddess of Rainbows". Amulets with Opal were worn to protect the wearer from disease. In Ancient Rome, Opal was thought to give powers of foresight and prophecy to the wearer. It was also believed to improve eyesight. Considered bad luck by some, Opal is actually often a good luck stone. Sir Walter Scott's novel "Anne of Gierstein" is believed to be one source of Opal's disfavor. However, Queen Victoria loved Opals and often gave them as gifts! Opal is loved for its heavenly color play in fine jewelry and as specimens.
May be associated with water and the moon. Helps develop psychic abilities. Protects during astral travel, and aids in the process. May be used for past life recall. Awakens inner beauty and helps manifest it in the world. Enhances creativity and interests in the arts. Encourages spontaneity and optimism. Helps recognize and understand emotional states. Open the heart.
Composition: Hydrous silica dioxide