History of Opals - Are they bad luck?
Recently, I have been asked whilst looking at my opal jewellery if buying one will bring bad luck. It's such a shame that such a beautiful crystal has ended up with such a bad rep (well, its not actually a crystal, its a mineraloid but that's a whole different blog post!)
So what about its history? How were opals seen in the past?
In short, opals used to be seen as bringers of good luck.
The Romans used to believe that due to the flashes in opals that they combined the beauty of all precious stones and often gave them to their wives to help bring good luck.
The Greeks, also enchanted by the colours it held used to believe that possessing an opal meant you would gain the power of prophecy.
In Medieval times it was called thr "Magicians stone" and women often believed that wearing one would prevent their hair turning grey.
So given this, how did they become connected to bad luck?
There are a couple of theories here which I will summarise but it boils down to diamond traders!
One common theory is Sir Walter Scott's book "Anne of Geierstein" this book was written on 1929 at the height of the opal trade. It was about a Baroness who shot sparks when her temper flared. One day her opal shot out a flame of light and dimmed when a drop of Holy water fell on it. Given the era at the time this was ominous to readers especially as opals do dim when wet.
This dimming is due to the natural process occurring in opals. When exposed to oil, water or excessive heat these stunning stones do dim but soon regain their shine once they have dried out.
The more common theory however is simply down to marketing tactics. In the early 20th Century large numbers of opals started to be imported to the western market. Diamond traders were worried by this as they feared it would affect their trade by being more popular. Emerging traders spread rumours about the bad luck that opal was supposed to bring their owners in order to try and prevent their popularity and therefore protect their own sales. Unfortunately these rumours worked and are the basis of today's beliefs.
So what now?
Well, now you can safely buy reassured that no stone will bring you bad luck, including opals so take a look through my shop.
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