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Opal Myths and Facts:
Myth......... It is bad luck to wear an opal.
Fact......... This rumor may have originated around
the mid 1800's, when Sir Walter Scott published a novel called Anne
of Geierstein. In his novel he used an opal to reflect the changing
fortunes of the heroin. Critics of his novel conjured up the idea that
opal could have an evil influence due to some of the heroin's misfortunes.
This dramatically reduced the value of opal at the time. Amazingly,
this myth started by book critics so long ago still exists today.
Myth......... It is bad luck to receive an opal.
Fact.......... It was also considered that receiving
an opal as a gift would cancel out any bad luck that it carried. In
any case, the opal's reputation of carrying good or bad luck has ranged
to both extremes over time. There is nothing to prove that unfortunate
things happen to those who wear opals – some people just have
over-suspicious imaginations! While not supernatural, the mysterious
opal is certainly a stone to be revered and wondered at.
Myth......... It is unlucky to wear an
opal if it is not your birthstone.
Fact.......... The opal is the traditional birthstone
of people born in October, however it likewise has been considered that
wearing your opal birthstone actually shields you from any bad luck
that it carries. The bad luck myth could have also been influenced by
the opal's fragility – having nothing to do with magic.
Myth......... The colors of an opal are responsive
to moods or temperatures of the wearer.
Fact......... These factors will not change an opal's
color, although change of viewpoint, orientation or lighting condition
can reveal different hues. This optical phenomena due to the opal's
structure gives the curious property called 'play of color'.
Myth......... An opal of red/blue or green/blue alone
is less valuable than an opal with all the colors of the spectrum.
Fact......... Pattern and brilliance are the major
factors in determining an opal's value, not color.
Myth......... All opal should be stored
submersed in water.
Fact......... Australian opal is formed in a unique
type of sandstone that has a relatively low moisture content, thus creating
a dry atmosphere for the opal to develop. Due to this dry host environment,
Australian opal does not need to kept in water. However, opal mined
in some other parts of the world (Mexico, for example) does need to
be kept moist. This is due to the very wet environment in which the
opal has spent millions of years developing.
Myth......... Opal should be rubbed or
coated with oil.
Fact......... Australian opal does not need to be protected
with oils for the same reason as above. On the contrary, we recommend
people keep their opal oil free by rinsing with water to remove dust
etc. and then wiping clean with a soft cloth.
Myth......... Opals are available in stockpiles managed
by large companies.
Fact......... On the contrary, opal mining
is done by individuals and syndicates. Therefore there are no stockpiles
and prices reflect their true market-driven value.
If you know of any other interesting myths or facts associated with
opal please feel free to contact
us and we'll add them to this page.