Published September 2016  •  Updated September 2022  •  Read Time: 10 minutes
White Opals can be precious, with a glittery iridescent fire, or they can be common opals with a flat color.  Most of the precious Opals on the market come from Australia, but Opals, both precious and common, can be found in many locations around the world.  Opals have many traditions and myths associated with them.  At various times it has been considered a stone of love and romance, as well as a stone to that curses disloyal lovers!  Common White Opal has a lighthearted and romantic energy that helps us to find our place in the world.  Its energy can help us to find our calling and to find the people who will bring out the best in us.

White Opal

White Opal Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

White Opal gives us a cool, clear-sighted perception of the world and our place within it. It can point us towards our “calling,” whether it is something we are suppose to do “forever” or simply something that we are meant to do at this moment in our lives. It purifies our own energy field and attracts Angels and other Spirit Guides to us. White Opal deepens meditation and can also be used to align the Chakras and balance male/female energies. It stimulates our natural psychic abilities and encourages us to use them in alignment with integrity and discernment.

Metaphysical Properties White Opal
Chakra Crown
Element Earth and Water
Numerology 8 and 9
Zodiac Cancer, Libra, Scorpio and Pisces

Emotional Healing Properties

White Opal lightens the heart and shares with us its relaxed and sensual energy. It has a very soothing vibration, which helps us to build and maintain healthy relationships in all areas of our life. Whit Opal is particularly good for enhancing our relationships with coworkers, business partners, and other professional ties. It reminds us that each person we encounter is playing a vital role, and needs to be treated with respect and dignity. When used in regards to romantic relationships, White Opal encourages us to stay in balance with our partner, to be gentle with them, and to give them healing touches.

Mental Healing Properties

White Opal amplifies our discernment, helping us to sort through complex information and correctly identify the parts that require our attention. It attracts good business partners and encourages us to make wise financial choices. During times of stress and chaos, White Opal helps us to keep a clear head and to act wisely. When placed in an office, White Opal improves business relationships and creates a more effective and pleasant environment to get things done.

Physical Healing Properties

White Opal is recommended to encourage acts of self-care.  This can mean paying for spa treatments and massages, but it can also mean indulging in a good book or savoring a delicious pastry.  Whatever brings delight to our life is an act of self-care.  This is a particularly important message for those of us who tend to continually give to others and accept whatever small crumbs are leftover.  White Opal reminds us that it’s okay to prioritize ourselves and to give ourselves a larger portion of our time and energy. White Opal is also a wonderful talisman at night.  If we are suffering from insomnia, White Opal reassures us that we’re okay and we don’t need to get stressed out, we just need to emotionally self-sooth while our body and mind winds down and we can rest.

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White Opal Mineralogy

Where does White Opal come from?

Opals are found worldwide, but 90% of all Opals on the market are Australian in origin.  White Opals are also found in Austria, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and the United States (Arizona, Oregon).

Mining and Treatments

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.

Lab-created Precious Opals are available in the fine gemstone market. Common Opals, by contrast, are all fully natural, regardless of the shade of color, enhanced only by cutting and polishing.

White Opal Placeholder
White Opal

Mineral Family

Opal is a type of Common Opal and a Silicate mineral. 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.

White Opal’s energy works well with its family – other Silicate minerals.  Try it in combination with Agates, Amethyst, Aventurine, Chalcedony, Citrine, Clear Quartz, Jasper, Prasiolite, Rose Quartz, Smoky Quartz, Tigers Eye.  It also blends perfectly with other types of Opal such as Green, Pink, Purple, and Yellow.

White Opal Formation and Crystal Associates

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.

White Opal’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Fluorite, Snow Quartz, Topaz

Mineralogy White Opal
Chemical Formula SiO2 nH2O
Cleavage None
Color White
Crystal System Amorphous
Form/Habit Massive
Fracture Conchoidal
Hardness – Mohs Scale 5-6
Luminescence Green (long and short wave)
Luster Vitreous
Mineral Family Tectosilicate
Specific Gravity 1.9-2.3
Streak White
Transparency

Translucent to opaque

History of White 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.

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.

There 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.”

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.

Cupid And Psche, Opal

Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, by Antonio Canova

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. When King Alfonzo XII (1857-1885) was young, he was enamored with a beautiful and famous French Comtesse, Virginia Oldoini (1837-1899) and promised her a high position in his court.  After he married his first Queen, the Comtesse was angry because her youth had faded and she no longer possessed her former powers of beauty.  Filled with anger, she sent Alfonzo a precious opal ring as a wedding gift, and the King gave it to his new wife.  The Queen soon sickened and died.  The King then gave the Opal to his grandmother, but she died too a few months later.  The Opal was inherited by the King’s sister, who died within days, and then his sister-in-law, who died three months later.  The King then put the ring on his own finger, and a short time later he too was died! All of these deaths have reasonable explanations, for example Alfonzo died due to a combination of tuberculous and dysentery.  The Opal was given to the Alfonzo’s second wife, but this Queen refused to wear it, and instead put the ring on a chain, 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.  The Opal and the statue were both destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.

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.  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.”

Coober Pedy, Opal

Sunrise over the Coober Pedy “golf course”