Throughout much of history, opals were believed to bring good luck. The Romans thought that opals were one of the luckiest gemstones and a symbol of hope. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that opals had all the positive properties of colored gemstones due to their rainbow-like play of colors. Another factor contributing to the bad reputation of opal may be the fact that opals are a relatively fragile gemstone.
Opals are a soft gemstone compared to diamonds, and can be broken if treated badly or if treated abruptly. This may have contributed to a general perception of opal as “bad luck”, as it would break anyone's heart to lose a precious beautiful opal or family heirloom. Opal has a rich history spanning thousands of years, 10,000 years specifically according to archaeologists. However, opals were not considered bad luck by everyone.
In the Middle Ages, opals were considered a talisman of good luck, since they contained all the virtues of each gemstone combined, including its range of colors. The jeweler, however, merely smiled and showed him that the stone in the ring was not an opal but a moonstone. Perpetuated by popular tradition, mistaken identity, superstitions, family tales and disgruntled diamond dealers, opal has had a pretty tough life. It was associated with the Black Death due to a rumor that a victim was wearing an opal that became opaque after his death.
Like other Vedic gemstones, the opal gemstone is ruled by a celestial body, that is, the planet Venus or Shukra. In The Curious Lore of Precious Stones, mineralogist George Kunz identified what he believed changed the popular perception of opal. Some argue that diamond traders in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the amazing attributes of opal and realized that it was going to be a serious threat to their livelihoods. Even so, this single work cut opal prices in half in just one year and paralyzed the European opal market for decades.
They ranked opal second after emeralds, and wore opal as a good luck charm or talisman because it was believed that, like the rainbow, opal brought good luck to their To ensure that diamonds retained a larger market share, De Beers avidly spread a rumor that opals were unlucky and enthusiastically promoted them. The opal, which actually belonged to Ana's exotic grandmother, turns out to have turned pale as a warning to its owner against poisoning (which was the real cause of her grandmother's death). When opals began to gain popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries, diamond traders became nervous about losing business. Blond women were known to wear opal necklaces to prevent their hair from losing its color.
However, for as long as Hungarian mines supplied opal to Europe, including a stone for the crown of a Roman emperor, superstitions circulated that attributed evil powers and diseases to the colorful stone. The saddest saga of opal is the mistake that is often repeated in the last of Sir Walter Scott's novels, Anne of Geierstein (182), which irrevocably links opal with misfortune. Made up of microscopic silica spheres with spaces between them, opal refracts light in different ways.