Opal is the birthstone for October.
The word "opal" for this dynamic gemstone was derived from the Greek word "opallus" which means to see a change in color because it is, after all, opal's abilty to refract and reflect specific wavelengths of light that make it so special. In fact, there are more than a dozen varieties of fiery and iridescent opals. The opulent flashes of color that are displayed by the opal gemstone cannot be compared to any other gemstone, making it phenomenally popular the world over. It has been regarded as the luckiest and most magical of all gems because of the special display of all colors of the rainbow.
The play of color makes the opal one of the favorite gemstones for jewelry. What distinguishes the opal from other stones is the unique play of color and glint of light that sets the opal apart from every other gemstone. The most common kind of opal, the white opal, has a white, milky base color with a rainbow of pastel shades, while the black opal reflects blue, gray and green tones. The crystal opal is close to transparent with a bright rainbow of colors, while the fire opal is translucent with fiery sparks of red, yellow and orange. Of all these varieties, those with red sparks against black are the mostly rarest.
Opals display many colors ranging from clear through white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, shore, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown and black. Apart from the basic body color, opals also display a unique flashing of rainbow colors; something popularly known as the ‘play-of- colors”. The white opal shows a good play of color. The crystal opal shows an exceptional play of color.
The opal is mostly made up of silica. The chemical composition of opal gem stone is a hydrous silicate di-oxide (SiO2 + nH2O). The specific gravity ranges between 1.98 and 2.20 and the refractive index ranges from 1.44 to 1.46.The hardness of the opal on the Mohs scale is generally between 5.5 and 6.
The opal was a talisman of hope and good fortune in that late fall month. It is a completely unique stone with colors and properties are all its own. Traditionally, opals have been associated with symbolic properties like hope, innocence and purity, perhaps related to its pearly luster, as well as ideas like happiness and confidence connected to its colorful rainbow spectrum. Because of its association with the eyes and vision, opals have been used to treat eye infections, enhance vision, imagination and dreams. Of course, today few people believe that an opal can be used to improve eye health or increase confidence, but the rainbow of colors is as magical as ever.
A gift of Opal is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence. And a wide range of choices in opal make them a perfect gift for anyone.