About The Opals
Throughout history, opal has always been believed to have mystical properties. The Greeks called it "Opallios" which means "to change color". They also thought it brought the wearer foresight and the gift of prophesy, while the Romans thought it to be a symbol of hope and purity. The ancient Arabic folklore thought it to be born of lightning from Heaven.
Opal is a form of silicon dioxide, the same mineral as quartz, sand, and amethyst. When the silica is deposited under the right conditions, it forms tiny microscopic balls. When those little balls of silica settle into regular lattice like structures, something magical happens. Light entering the opal is sent back out of the stone in a process called diffraction. The silica balls break up the light into a spectral array. When this happens, the opal is said to have "play of color" or "fire". It is only those stones with this unique property that are considered "gem" or "precious" opal. While opal itself is relatively common, gem quality opal is extraordinarily rare. Some Australian opals fetch many thousands of dollars per carat, a price comparable to most sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and even diamonds.
While for hundreds of years the worlds opal collection has been predominantly native to Australia, recent discoveries of opal mines around the globe have revived and revitalized the legacy of these magnificent gemstones. As the Australian opal supply becomes more and more depleted, other sources of precious opal are beginning to take prominence. One of these sources is the Wollo Province of Ethiopia.
These "Welo" opals, due to their unique crystalline structure, have extraordinary play of color and expose a brilliance that is rarely found in todays Australian opals. Ethiopian opals are volcanic in origin and contain no water. Therefore, they are much less prone to cracking or "crazing" than their Australian counterparts. Also, Ethiopian opals are crystalline in nature, and can be carved into magnificent shapes. They are remarkably less expensive than Australian opals, but are still viewed as significantly more valuable that most other gemstones. Each one completely unique, they have become one of the most popular gems in today's jewelry market.
About the myth....
You may have been told that opals bring bad luck to those who aren't born in October. However, what you've heard was just the perpetuation of a long standing myth created by the diamond industry back in the 1890s. Diamond merchants of the day were afraid that this newly discovered amazing gem would have a serious impact on their industry, so they proceeded to spread the idea that "bad luck" would pursue anyone who wears the gem and was not born in the month of October, this myth has been spread far and wide and still persists to this day. But, as any Australian would tell you...