Opal, Blue

Joyful Freedom

Awaken to your true spiritual and life path.

Calm your mind and release fear and grief.

Speak up and stand up for what’s important.

Creatively connect and relate with others.

Let Blue Opal encourage you to set yourself free!

$15.00

8 in stock

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Mineralogy of Blue Opal

Polished slice of “Grape Opal” from Jalisco, Mexico

Mineral Family: Tectosilicate

Chemical Composition: SiO2 nH2O
Cleavage: None
Color: Blue/purple and white
Crystal System: Amorphous
Form/Habit: Massive
Fracture: Conchoidal
Gravity:  1.9-2.3
Hardness: 5-6
Luminescence: Green (long and short wave)
Luster: Vitreous
Streak: White
Transparency: Translucent to opaque

Location: Opals are found in many locations around the world, however 90% of all Opals on the market are Australian in origin. Other deposits are located in Brazil, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, and the United States (Idaho and Nevada).opal-mine-locations

Mineral Family: Blue Opal is a type of Common Opal and a Silicate mineral. Silicate minerals form the largest family of minerals, including more than 25% of all known minerals and 40% of all common minerals. In addition to being a major part of the Earth’s crust, Silicate minerals have also been found on the moon and in meteorites. Silicates are minerals which contain the elements Silicon (a light gray shiny metal) and Oxygen (a colorless gas). Together, these two elements form a tetrahedron – a shape similar to a pyramid – with a Silicon atom in the center and Oxygen atoms at each of the four corners. These tetrahedra connect with other chemical structures, in six different ways, to form various minerals and rocks. There are six main groups of Silicate minerals, and these main groups are further subdivided into secondary subdivisions, such as Quartz and Feldspars. Opal comes in two main varieties, precious and common. Precious Opals have a fiery play of colors sparking across their surface. Common Opals, by contrast, lack this fire and have an opaque, flat color.

Coober_Pedy_Opal_2

Multi-colored Precious Opal, Coober Pedy Opal Mine, South Australia

Formation: Common Opals are fairly widespread and can be found in most types of rocks, wherever silica-bearing waters are found. Opals are especially abundant near hot-springs and Opal often is part of the fossilization process for Petrified Wood as well as fossilized seashells and bones. Precious Opals, by contrast, are much more rare and can only be found enclosed within a rock, where over time the water is slowly removed from the silica gel, a process which can take thousands of years. The silica left behind settles down and, if it settles in the correct formation, it results in the iridescent color which plays across the gem’s surface.

Mining: Most Precious Opals are found in thin layers embedded in sandstone and are the primary focus for many mines. Some of the mines are small affairs, while others are huge operations that create vast tunnel systems through the sandstone. Precious Opals are found using UV lights. Common Opals, by contrast, are secondary stones found in a wide variety of mines and mining conditions.

Opal Mine

Coober Pedy Opal Mine, South Australia

Enhancements: Lab created Precious Opals are available in the fine gemstone market. Common Opals, by contrast, are almost certain to be fully natural, regardless of the shade of color, enhanced only by tumbling, cutting, and polishing.

Synonyms: Grape Opals

Map courtesy of TravelBlog
Photos: Blue Opal, Precious OpalCoober Pedy Opal Mine

History of Opal 

Opal is included in virtually every known lapidary, texts which describe gemstones and their powers. Most of the legends associated with Opals refer specifically to the Precious Opals that contain a flashing “fire” of color inside them. Tumbled Opals, by contrast, are known as Common Opals, and have a flat color. The name Opal most likely derives from the the Sanskrit upala, meaning “precious stone.” It has also been suggested that the name may also come from Ops, a Roman Earth Goddess associated with fertility and the harvest.

Black Opal

Precious Black Opal, Lightening Ridge, New South Wales, Australia

At one time, Opals commanded a higher price than any other gemstone, far higher than Diamonds or Rubies. Pliny the Elder (CE 23-79), a Roman author, naturalist, and philosopher described Opal in his lapidary, The Natural History of Precious Gemstones. He related that a generation before him, there had been an enormous Opal, as big as a hazelnut, which was worth more than a villa. It was owned by a Roman Senator named Nonius. Marc Antony, the most powerful man in the Roman world at that time, demanded that the Senator give the gemstone to him. Nonius refused and fled, leaving all his worldly possessions behind, taking only the Opal.

RainbowThere are numerous myths associated with Opal, many of which are gruesome. According to one legend, Opal was created when the Storm God grew angry and jealous at the Rainbow God. The Storm God shattered the Rainbow God with his lightning, and cast his body down to the earth in a million little pieces. When the pieces landed, they petrified and turned into Precious Opals, which still sparkle with a rainbow of colors. In another story, Opals were formed by the Norse smith-god Volömer, who stole children’s eyes and used them to fashion the pretty gems.

Some of the stories associated with Opal appear to trace back to an allegory in Plato’s Republic (380 BCE). Once upon a time, a poor shepherd named Gydes from the kingdom of Lydia left his home in search of adventure. During his journey, Gydes survived an earthquake and saw a chasm opened up in the Earth. He went inside and saw a corpse wearing a ring with a precious stone. He stole the ring and returned to Lydia. He soon discovered that the stone could be manipulated to make the wearer invisible. He used the ring to sneak into the bedchamber of the Queen and make love to her, and then later killed the king. The Queen married Gydes and elevated him to the throne, and the two lived happily ever after. The purpose of this story in the Republic was to ponder whether or not an intelligent person would behave morally if they had no fear of being caught or punished for any misdeeds. While Plato did not name the stone specifically, later historians agree that that the stone was an Opal. Opal was widely believed to be able to confer invisibility and was also nicknamed, the patronus furum, or “Protector of Thieves.”

Cupid

Cupid and Psyche

Despite these unsettling stories, during the ancient and medieval period Opal was seen as a symbol of hope and purity. In one of the myths of Orpheus, the legendary Greek musician, Opal was described as “the delight of the immortals.” During the Roman Era it was sometimes referred to as cupid paederos, or “Cupid’s Stone” because of its bright color and flashing fire, as well as how it inspired love in all who beheld it.

During the nineteenth century, Opal became associated with bad luck, an idea which may have first been promoted by the jewelry industry as an explanation for why Opals fracture so easily, even when treated with care. As proof, the jewelry industry nodded towards a novel by Sir Walter Scott, Anne of Geierstein, (1829), in which an enchanted princess named Hermione wore an Opal in her hair, which mimicked her moods with its flashing colors. She married a man she loved and bore him a daughter. But when it came time for the christening, a drop of Holy Water splashed on the Opal, turning it into a dull pebble and sending Hermione into a coma. The next morning Hermione’s body was gone, only the dull pebble and a pile of ashes remained.

However, the reputation of Opal as a symbol of bad luck may also have been related to the Spanish Royal Family. During the summer of 1885, King Alfonzo XII (1857-1885) died during an outbreak of cholera. His mother, sister, and sister in-law also died. Queen Maria Christina (1858-1929) believed that these deaths were due to a “fatal gem,” an Opal that the King had given to her on their wedding day. She had the Opal made into a necklace, and hung it around the neck of the statue of the Virgin of Alumdena, the female patron saint of Madrid. No more deaths rocked the royal family, and the Opal necklace remains in place to this day.

Today, the vast majority of Opals come from the outback of Australia. The “Opal Capital of the World” is the small desert town of Coober Pedy, in Southern Australia. Opals were discovered in the desolate Stuart Mountain range in 1915, by a 14-year-old boy named Willie Hutchinson. He and his father were searching for gold but instead found a mother-lode of pale white sparking gems.

Coober

Sunrise over the Coober Pedy “golf course”

An Opal Rush began, and hundreds of men seeking their fortune poured into the “Stuart Range Opal Field.” This name was deemed too boring, and was replaced with kupa piti, Aboriginal words that meant “the boy’s watering hole,” a nod to Willie Hutchinson. In a bizarre turn of events, Willie died in 1920 while swimming in a water hole. Kupa piti gradually become Coober Pedy, which local residents now claim means “white man in a hole.”

Photos: OpalRainbow, CupidCoober Pedy

Healing Properties of Blue Opal

Spiritual: Blue Opal awakens us to our natural birthright for joy and freedom.  It encourages us to let go of our inhibitions and to live more vibrantly and colorfully.  It reduces the power of our ego, which can place far too much value on “what other people think”, and instead invites us to consider what will truly make us feel happy and spiritually healthy.  Blue Opal reminds us that when we are in alignment with our natural joy, the whole world’s vibration raises accordingly.  Blue Opal is a wonderful meditation stone, particularly if one’s practice includes mantras or other holy sounds. Blue Opal is attuned to the Throat and Third Eye Chakra and linked to the astrological sign of Taurus, Cancer, Libra, Scorpio and Pisces. It is connected to the elements of Earth and Water and vibrates to the numbers 3, 8 and 9.

Emotional: Blue Opal has a relaxed, sensual and confident vibration, that can help us to take care of our most important relationships  It assists us in clearly expressing our wants and needs, and to be open to hearing and understanding what other people want and need from us.  This is particularly helpful in romantic relationships where one or both people have been hurt in the past and so are scared to express their true heart’s longings.  Blue Opal helps us to be brave enough to love again and to trust that we are worthy of our own happily ever after.

Mental: Blue Opal helps us to stay focused in the present moment and not dwell on the past.  It encourages us to be hopeful, creative and more spontaneous.  It is particularly useful for writers, poets, musicians, and anyone who uses words and sounds as their artistic medium.  Blue Opal reminds us that art is powerful and useful.  It encourages us to make art that lifts the spirit and encourages viewers to think and to feel more connected with the larger world.  Blue Opal is also a very good stone for students, especially those who are auditory learners or anyone focused in the humanities and fine arts.

Physical: Blue Opal is used by metaphysical healers primarily to treat respiratory illnesses and lung damage, as well as asthma and allergies, and some eye conditions.  Blue Opal is said to strength a person’s will to live, and so is also used to treat the emotional side-affects of chronic or serious illness.

Always use wisdom when considering crystal therapies for healing.

Ethically Sourced Blue Opal

 

The Miners sell to a rough Gem Dealer/Exporter.

The Exporter sells to a Lapidary.

The Lapidary sells directly to Moonrise Crystals.

Moonrise Crystals sells directly to you.

 

 

 

 

 

The Supply Chain

The Supply Chain is relatively short but likely clean.

The Mine and the Lapidary are located in different countries, with one middleman involved.

 

 

The Mine

This Blue Opal is from a small mine in Jalisco, Mexico.

The exact deposit is unknown, and most likely had safe conditions for workers,

and caused only minor environmental damage.

Learn More: Ethical Mining

 

 

The Lapidary

This Blue Opal was polished in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Lapidary is a family-owned business, founded by father and passed on to his sons.

Factory workers have safe conditions and are paid fairly.

The Lapidary is also the direct-importer & sells primarily at large gem shows.

Learn More: Ethical Lapidary

 

Sourcing Relationship

I have been doing business with this source since the earliest days in my business.  They are a major tumbling company and have more varieties, in more sizes, than any other known source.  The owners visit many small and industrial-size mines personally.  For artisanal-mined deposits in sub-Sahara Africa, the owners work with Gem Dealers who deal directly with the part-time miners.  The majority of these Gem Dealers are women.

Some, but not all, of their stones are labeled with country-of-origin.  For those that aren’t, I have to ask the owners personally.  They tend to get impatient with questions.  As I’ve learned more about mining practices in individual countries, I have become increasingly selective about what I will purchase from them.  However, they remain my preferred source for most of sub-Sahara Africa.

Blue Opal Tumbled Stone

Color: Blue/purple and white.   This is a 100% natural stone, so minor variations are part of their unique beauty.

Size: 1 inch, or a little bit bigger

Weight: 1 oz

Shipping: Next business day – Domestic First Class averages 3-7 days.  International First Class averages 2-3 weeks. 

Safe Handling of Opal

 

Reviews

  1. Estelle V. (France)

    Perfect quality for this superb stone, can’t wait to work with it and explore more thoroughly its mysterious vibes.

  2. Tone D. (Norway)

    The Blue Opal has a very calming effect on me

  3. Kerensa D. (Pennsylvania)

    Beautiful crystals!! As always awesome seller!

  4. Jessica A. (Pennsylvania)

    Great seller speedy shipping got item fast

  5. Kelly C. (New Hampshire)

    I just got crystals today. They are gorgeous! They are like no other crystals I have.

  6. Ammy B. (Iowa)

    Very nice, as described. Fast shipping.

  7. Jennifer S. (Colorado)

    Awesome opal! It has a fascinating swirl of royal purple, bright white, and clear areas, and feels just wonderful when held. As always, the excellent customer service made this a wonderful purchasing experience. Thank you!

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