Birthstones offers 22 charts / lists including:

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October Birthstone - Opal

Birthstone Charts - Birthstone Jewelry - Anniversary Gems

Birthstone Colors by Month - Birthstone Colors

more October birth stones Gemstone Index

Opal cabs available for custom jewelry design



More Opal Facts, Myths and Legends

Opal Jewelry :

Druzy, Peruvian Opal Pendant

Peruvian/ Boulder Opal Pin/Pendant

Boulder Opal Pendant

Larimar, Opal Pendant

Onyx, Opal Pendant

Lapis, Opal Pendant

Lapis, Opal Pendant


Boulder Opal Pendant

Turquoise, Opal Pendant

Gold Topaz, Opal Pendant

Mixed Stone Opal Pendant

Lapis, Opal Ring

Lapis Lazuli, Opal Ring

Boulder Opal Ring

Chrysoprase / Opal Ring


Pearl, Opal Pendant

Boulder Opal Earrings

Lapis, Opal Earrings

Custom Opal Lapis Earrings

Bracelets with opal



Boulder Opal Ring



Unique Birthstone Jewelry

Opal is the modern October birthstone and the accepted gem for the 13th wedding anniversary. See other October birth stones:  Traditional, Contemporary, Mystical, Ancient, Zodiac and Star signs.

Most opal is 50-65 million years old, dating back to the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Opal formed as silica from decomposing rocks mixed with ground water which formed a silica gel that collected and hardened in underground cavities and fissures. Opal's chemical formula is SiO2 .nH2O.


See more opal jewelry.


There are two distinct types of opal, common and precious. The way the silica particles form determines which type. In precious opal, silica particles are packed in regular rows and layers. Moving the stone causes light to diffract, or split, as it grazes the opal surface. This light diffusion shows iridescent flashes of green, blue, aqua and sometimes yellowish or red colors which are referred to as "fire".

Color and Varieties:

Black Opal comes from the Lightning Ridge region of Northern New South Wales. It is the most rare and valuable opal. Fine quality black opals often cost more per carat than diamonds. The term black opal is misleading because the opal is not actually black, but instead has a very dark base. This dark base enhances the brilliant colors known as "fire".

Boulder opal occurs in the boulder opal belt, an area between the New South Wales border and northwest Queensland. Boulder opal forms on a dark ironstone base (the host rock) and occurs as a thin uneven layer adhering to the ironstone. Because of the uneven layers, sometimes part of the ironstone is visible on the surface of the stone. Queensland Boulder Opal accounts for a small percent of the world market, and because of its brilliance and rarity can bring up to $1000 a carat.

Boulder opals are graded into specific groups (listed below) which have been defined by the Australian Gemological Association:

Boulder black opal
Boulder crystal opal
Boulder light opal
Boulder matrix opal
Yowah nuts

Boulder splits
Seam and vein opal
Sandstone opal
Pipe opal
Wood opal

ringLight opal is the most common type of opal found and refers to both the crystal type opal (translucent) and the milky opal (opaque). It is the most common variety of opal and is generally less expensive than gem quality light opal. Brilliantly colored light opals may be quite expensive with a value exceeding some Black and Boulder Opals.

Brilliance or luster is one of the primary factors that determine an opal's value. An opal with strong intensity and color play adds more value.

Rumor and Legend Surrounding Australian Opals:

A long standing rumor is that boulder opals are porous and will absorb moisture, such as perspiration but an Australian opal is not porous and will not absorb moisture. To change the water content locked in an opal's tiny voids it must be heated extreme temperatures. Opal's hardness on the Mohs scale is 6.5.


Opal takes its name from the Latin word Upala meaning precious stone. The Roman scholar Pliny described opal as ringhaving the fire of carbuncle (a deep red garnet) and the brilliance of amethyst with the green color of emerald. The Romans believed opal was the symbol of hope and purity. They called it cupid paederos (child as beautiful as love) and thought the wearer safe from disease.

The Arabs believed that opals fell from heaven in flashes of lightning. Ancient Greeks also believed the opal had the power of giving foresight and the light of prophecy to their owners. Cleopatra is said to have worn an opal to attract the attention of Mark Anthony.

Aborigines believe they have lived in Australia since the beginning of all creation. This culture has produced many myths and legends about opals over this span of time and the Aborigines believe the opal has a spiritual value. They believe the opal represents something an ancestor left behind as a sign of his or her presence. The Wangkumara people have a legend which tells how their people gained fire from opal stones, with the assistance of a Muda - a Creator who switches from human form to pelican.

pendantThis story is preserved in a book of Aboriginal legends, titled 'The Opal that Turned into Fire', compiled by Janet Mathews and published by Magabala Books. This legend recounts how the Wangkumara people decided to send a pelican (Muda) to explore the Northern Territory, so he could return and tell them what was there. The pelican set off with all the fish and water he would need for the journey stored in the pouch beneath his beak. After flying a while the pelican felt ill and landed on top of a hill that the Wangkumara later named Bildimini. While resting the pelican observed the ground beneath him and was amazed by its magnificent array of colors.

Although he did not know it, what he saw was opal. The pelican was so curious he began to peck at the colored stones with his beak. Suddenly, a spark flew out and lit the dry grass nearby. The flames rose and spread slowly across the plains approaching a group of Wangkumara who were camping near Cooper's Creek. The people were able to use the fire to cook their meat and fish for the first time, and were grateful for this new gift.

Another legend tells how an earlier Muda, also in pelican form, created Cooper's Creek for the Wangkumara and filled it with fish. Wounded by a spear, this Muda died on the hill that would be called Bildimini. His blood and the water in his pouch flowed down the hillside, soaking into the earth and hardening into opal and gold.

See for an exciting look at Australia and more information about opals.


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Sources of Information:
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones
by G.F. Kunz. J.D. Lippincott. 1913
The Mineral Gallery
The Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom
International Colored Gemstone Association
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals Alfed A. Knopf 1979
Stones - Their Collection, Identification and Uses by R. V. Dietrich. Geoscience Press. 1980
Guide to Gems and Precious Stones Simon & Schuster 1986
Gemstones of the World by Walter Schumann. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
Gems and Jewelry by Joel E. Arem. Geoscience Press. 1992
Gems in Myth, Legend, and Lore by Bruce G. Knuth. Jeweler's Press 1999
Healing Crystals by Cassandra Eason. Vega 2003









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