Opal was considered the most precious gemstone in many ancient cultures due to its ability to show all colours of the rainbow. People believed it had supernatural powers of all other gems combined. It was also considered very lucky since the Roman times. It fell into disfavour after a novel “Anne of Geierstein” was published in 1829. The irony is that the author didn’t mean to suggest that it brings bad luck but the public didn’t read the third volume carefully and jumped into the conclusion. Opal’s fortune rose again after Queen Victoria laughed at the superstition. She wore opals and gave them to her daughters as gifts. When Australian black opals arrived to Europe sales rose again, despite diamond merchant cartels spreading stories about opal’s bad luck.
The best opal gemstones can show virtually any colour there is. The infinity of possible patterns makes it difficult to even classify them all. European historical opal source used to be located in Hungary. Most of these stones were white and with a limited amount of colours showing. The discovery of Australian deposits, especially Lightning Ridge area black opal, shown us the true potential opal holds.
Australia had a virtual monopoly in the opal market for a long time with a 97% of global production. It still enjoys the top spot despite some promising newcomers, like Ethiopia with its hydrophane Welo opals.
You can enjoy a wide selection of loose opal gemstones available in our store, in both traditional and unique carved shapes, with many patterns and colours available. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you search for something you don’t see. We do have many stones that are not yet cut and polished.