The history of using crystals as a form of healing goes back as far as the historical records themselves. The Mayans for example were known to have used crystals for both physical and emotional healing. They are rich part of our history and even with all the advances in modern science, remain popular to this day. There is something mysterious and wonderful that surrounds gemstones. Not just their beauty but their magnetism too, there is just something about them. Throughout our history we have just not been able to leave them alone.
Having been interested in crystal healing from a very young age I have always been fascinated with the different feeling we get from holding different stones. You can feel the power emitting from them. Your hand pulses with the presence of this presumed lifeless stone. It is one of the first instances that I experience what I can only describe as magic.
The Opal is the birth stone of October and also the stone for celebrating the 14th wedding anniversary year. 95% of the worlds Opals are found in Australia although they can be found all over the rest of the world.
The name, “Opal,” comes from the Latin word, “opalus,” which translates to, “precious jewel” and it’s not hard to see why. They have hidden depths of a beautiful array of colours from blues, pinks and green to even black. The fascination with this stone comes from its snow crystal like appearance, Opals are wonderfully sparkly and have an iridescent look to them. They make beautiful pieces of jewellery with their glittering colours, smooth edges and the way they sparkle in the light. There is a melody of colours in the Opal that make it an unusual and strikingly beautiful gem.
Opals are said to have the power to steal the breath away from anyone who beholds them.
The Opal has a rather checkered past. The ‘queen of gems’ has not always been the popular gem of today’s society. Although romans believed it symbolised hope and purity. It fell from grace in 1829, with the help of sir Walter Scott’s novel, Anne of Geierstein. This is the story of the lady Hermione who wore an enchanted opal in her hair. It would reflect the colour of her moods in the colour of the stone. If she became angry it would flash red and it would sparkle with unparalleled beauty if she was happy. She was accused of being a demoness and dies after a few sprinkles of holy water were splashed onto the opal causing it to lose its sparkle and for Lady Hermione to later be discovered in a pile of ashes under the gem in her bed. Because of this story, Opals gained a wide and mythical reputation for bad luck.
Queen Victoria is well known for helping to reverse the bad press surrounding the Opal. She wore them throughout her reign and even gave them as wedding gifts to loved ones.
In the late 19th century Spanish-kind would sully the reputation of the Opal even further. Alfonzo XII fell madly in love with a beautiful aristocrat named the Comtesse de Castiglione. The Comtesse reciprocated the King’s affection, but months before the pair were to wed the faithless Alfonzo married another woman, the Princess Mercedes. Vowing to get even, the Comtesse sent the couple a wedding present in the form of a magnificent Opal set in a huge ring of the purest gold. The princess was immediately smitten by the gift and insisted that her husband slip it on her finger. He obliged, and two months later the princess mysteriously died. After the funeral Alfonzo gave the ring to his grandmother, Queen Christina, who almost immediately thereafter also expired. After that the ring passed to Alfonzo’s sister, the Infanta Maria del Pilar. Maria died as well, apparently victim to the same strange illness that had taken the other two women. The ring was up for grabs yet again, and when Alfonzo’s sister-in-law expressed an interest, he let her have it with the usual result. Deeply depressed by then, the King decided to end it all by slipping the ring on his own finger, just as Cleopatra had embraced the asp to terminate her own misery. In little over a month, the ring did to Alfonzo what the snake had done to the Egyptian Queen. The ring was finally attached to a gold chain and strung around the neck of a statue of the patron saint of Madrid, the Virgin of Alumdena. That put an end to the incredible chain of tragic circumstances.
Despite the superstition the Opal had in its chequered past it has been redeemed in the 20th century and is today an absolute favourite gemstone. Opals are used to absorb and reflect light and in doing so can also be a wonderful aid to absorb thought and feelings. An Opal has a unique power of being able to bring out its wearer’s traits, good or bad, and bring hidden characteristics and desires to the surface. The Opal is an intensive stone, it is seductive and exaggerates emotional states whilst releasing inhibitions. Opals can also be used to enhance memory, imagination and creativity because of its ability to bring down our barriers it has the power to ignite passion and has strong associations with healing and love.
Opals are known for providing a cloak of invisibility. Enabling the wearer to move about unnoticed. And allowing them to fade into the back ground if necessary.
Opal promotes a calm and centered mind for prayer and meditation, allowing one to connect with the Earth and her spirit, and to experience the elemental joy of the natural world.
Pliny, the Roman scholar, wrote of the Opal: “There is in them a softer fire than the ruby, there is the brilliant purple of the amethyst, and the sea green of the emerald - all shining together in incredible union.”
Whatever your belief around the Opal it is impossible to deny their beauty.