The Not So Scary Truth About Opals
Anne of Geierstein, also known as The Maiden of the Mist is a novel written by Sir Walter Scott, in 1829, and cast an unlucky shadow onto opal.
The story told of a young princess who wore an opal pin in her hair.
When she was happy, the opal radiated with its signature flashes of colors. When she was mad or sad, the opal faded in light and color.
Convinced she was evil or bewitched, holy water was sprinkled onto the opal to break the jewel’s spell, and at once, the princess fainted and collapsed.
The next morning, there was only a heap of gray ashes where she had been laid.
From that point on, opal was believed to be bad luck, and it suffered in popularity.
It regained attention and jewelry status to be pushed again by the jealous diamond industry, so it is speculated.
Today, opal is enjoyed by many for its fiery display and wide variety.
The most recent variety uncovered is a transparent, jelly variety, called Ethiopian opal.
A listener of the podcast reached out to me about a few Ethiopian opal stones she has that have discolored to a duller orangey - yellow color, and asked if I could explain the change of appearance.
I reached out to a few gemologists and specialists, MD Maya Gems, Diana Jarrett, G.G., and Matt Hopkins of Hopkins Opal.
Matt spent some time with me on a phone conversation and explained why the opal changed color, and also clarified the controversial advice to either oil or keep your opals in water.
Be sure to visit the website for the accompanying blog post that will feature links to the research, photos of opals and opal jewelry by Thesis Gems, Russell Trusso, and more!