Let’s Talk Opals: History, Types, Colors, Meaning, Value, and Care

by Sarah, Stevie Wren

Let's talk about one of our favorite gemstones at Stevie Wren Fine Jewelry: opals.

We intentionally fuse the opal gemstone into many of our fine jewelry designs, taking care to showcase each opal’s beautiful color, complement its metaphysical meaning, and highlight its high-quality value.

Other than color, the opal has quite a unique history, personality, and care-standard, making it a very special gemstone.

Once you become aware of how many different types of opals exist (and the unique meaning behind each one), their value becomes much more apparent in your piece of jewelry.

Making sure your opal fine jewelry lasts a lifetime is important too, so we’ll even tell you how to take care of your opals.

A Quick History of the Opal

It’s almost challenging to pinpoint an exact historical timeline for the opal gemstone. The first documentable account of opals being discovered goes way back to 4000BC in Kenya, but that is only an estimate made by geologists; the actual date could be much earlier. Needless to say, opal is quite a mysterious gemstone.

Royalty and individuals of status in ancient Greece, Ethiopia, Rome, and other European & Arabic countries used opals to adorn their crowns, jewelry, amulets, or other accessories. To them, it symbolized power and wealth. While the opal doesn’t necessarily symbolize royalty anymore in our modern world, it still represents luxury, beauty, and grace for all who wear it.

Opal is also the official birthstone for the month of October.

This is Why We Work with Opals in Our Designs

At Stevie Wren, we love to use opals in our fine jewelry. In fact, if you take a peek at our collection, you’ll see that we incorporate opals in many of our pieces: multi-stone threader earrings, moon & star earrings, stud earrings, bracelets, and more.

Why do we love opals so much? It’s simple; they are opulent across all decades. Opals embody the timeless beauty we try to capture in each of our designs. Their appearance is mesmerizing to look at and seems to change color as if by magic.

We believe opals are a true treasure that our natural Earth gifts us with a smile on her face. They adorn the body so gracefully, emitting an air of sophistication, luxury, refinement, and classic beauty. You can’t go wrong with an opal.

There are Many Different Types of Opals Out There

Opals naturally come in varying hues and colors. However, the traditional color most people associate with an opal is a white, iridescent shade that almost shimmers. It’s not quite a pale white, but not so obviously two-toned either.

The reason why opal is formed in such unique color varieties is because of its scientific properties. Each opal is densely packed with silica. When light hits the silica, it is reflected in different directions, generating the colors we see coming from the opal. The size and position of the silica is what makes each type of opal appear differently.

Naturally, types of opals that have more vibrant shades are considered the most valuable. For example, red is a rare type of opal and, thus, very expensive. You can find opals in almost any type imaginable, as their color options are endless. Here are a few different kinds of opal you may come across.

+ Red

+ Black

+ White

+ Orange

+ Green

+ Blue

+ Yellow

Most types of opals are actually a combination of those colors- like fire opal.

Each Type of Opal Holds a Hidden (Metaphysical) Meaning

While one colored opal can mean one thing, a different type of opal can hold an entirely different significance. Opal, in general, is credited as being a very lucky stone to keep around- especially for its metaphysical meaning.

Ancient cultures attributed it to having hidden supernatural powers, such as disease prevention and the gift of prophetic vision. Other cultures believed it could preserve life. Either way, opal is a complex gemstone that may have more metaphysical meaning than you think.

Blue opal- soothes emotions, ignites spirituality, aids with communication, assists the throat chakra, promotes peaceful self-awareness, and encourages higher consciousness.

Fire opal- increases sex drive, boosts sexual enjoyment and fertility, increases physical energy, enhances self-esteem and self-confidence, promotes creativity, and magnifies energies.

Green opal- strengthens the immune system, promotes clear mental thought, helps balance emotions, grounds the energetic body, and manifests abundance.

Pink opal- best for clearing the heart, healing emotional wounds, releasing stress or emotional burdens, and heightening one’s levels of compassion and love.

White opal- used for purifying one’s energetic field, clearing stagnant energy, removing energetic blocks, heightening one’s conscious awareness, and balancing the chakras.

How to Take Care of Your Opal Fine Jewelry?

We always recommend you take care of your opal fine jewelry with delicate attention. Avoid hitting the opal on hard surfaces, dropping it, or wearing it while performing any activity that may expose it to rough conditions. Basically, don’t scratch it up.

Since opal’s natural compounds are water-based, it may dry out and crack if left in arid, hot, zero-humidity conditions. That means avoid storing it in a bank vault for extended periods of time unless they purposefully use humidifiers.

If your opal fine jewelry needs cleaning, get a microfiber cloth and wet it with lukewarm water (mild soap optional). Gently wipe it. After it’s clean, dry it off with another microfiber cloth.

Opal is a porous stone comprised of about 20% water, so NEVER submerge it in a liquid other than water, or it will deteriorate. It’s also not a good idea to leave your fine jewelry in wet conditions for too long anyway.

If you take care of it properly, your opal fine jewelry should last a lifetime and then some.

Opals are Never Going Out of Style

The valuable opal gemstone has been around since the dawn of time, it seems. Kings and queens wore them for centuries, and now, modern millennials throw on an opal ring or necklace to “complete” their look.

Because traditional opals have such a timeless appearance, they are never going out of style- especially with the emergence of colored opals.

What do you think? Do you love opal gemstones as much as we do? Email us at Concierge@steviewren.com.