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.

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