Opal, the mesmerizing October birthstone, is by all means the most unique, beautiful and diverse gemstone in the world. This mysterious gem seems to embody nature’s entire splendor within itself – right from the colors of the rainbow to the glistening shine of the seas. Unlike other gemstones, opal does not have a defined crystalline structure and comes in various shapes and colors. Here are some interesting facts about opals that you might not know.


  • According to historians, in ancient Rome opal was known as opalus, which means ‘precious stone’. Opallios, the Greek word for this gemstone translates as ‘color change’.
  • Pliny, the Roman author, described opal as a gemstone that combines the best characteristics of the most beautiful gemstones.
  • Opals are the result of seasonal rains that drenched the dry areas in Australia. The rain water seeped deep into the underground rock, carrying dissolved silica downward. Once the water evaporated, the silica dried out and hardened into opal.
  • This stunning gemstone contains around 20% of water that is trapped within its silica structure.
  • Around 95% of the world’s opals are sourced from Australia. Some of the other countries that have opal mines are Ethiopia, Brazil, and Mexico.
  • Opals aren’t very hard – they have a rating of 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale. Due to their soft nature, it’s important to take proper care of them.
  • Commonly called the Queen of Gemstones, opals are regarded to be the stone of truth, purity and hope.
  • Some consider it unlucky for anyone who isn’t an October born to wear an opal. This superstition comes from the 1829 novel “Anne of Geierstein” by Sir Walter Scott and is not based on any ancient belief.
  • The gorgeous color play of this stone is also believed to reflect the changing emotions and moods of people.
  • It is also regarded to be the gemstone gift alternative for the 14th wedding anniversary.
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