Opal (OE-pul) has three main sub-categories: precious opal, common opal, and fire opal. Precious opal has a remarkable visual effect, referred to as ‘color play’ or ‘play of color’, which is a unique diffraction of light due to tiny spheres of silica in the stone. The resultant iridescence can be (and usually is) a full spectrum of colors. Common opal exhibits ‘opalescence’, a type of adularescence – that is, a milky, bluish lustre. Fire opal can, on rare occasions, exhibit some color play, but it is more prized for its vibrant base color, which is most commonly a fiery orange color, though it can also be white or brown. There are also dozens of other sub-categories.

It is the national gemstone of Australia due to their remarkably high contribution to the available opal in the world.

It has a Mohs hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 and an amorphous crystal structure.

It is the main birthstone for October (the alternate being tourmaline).

Locations: Australia supplies a massive quantity of the world’s opal gemstones, with Ethiopia being a close second. There are also sources in Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and the United States.

Properties: All types of opal can amplify one’s true traits, which both empowers the individual for their awareness of their positive traits and provides impetus to overcome the less desirable traits. They can also encourage spontaneity, clear action, stronger memory, and loyalty. They can also potentially be used to help the wearer blend in when that desire is present. In addition to these properties, each type of opal has its own additional characteristics.

  • Precious opal clears the emotional body, connects spiritual aspirations with physical existence, and helps with deep inner work. It also needs to be used with respect, as whatever your deepest desires are will be forced into your awareness – or into manifestation. If you have not already done a good deal of introspection and faced a number of your ‘demons’, you may have an unpleasant experience resulting from inadvertently misusing this stone (particularly the black variety). However, for the same reasons, it can be a remarkably useful and wonderful means of clearing unwanted patterns and bringing your highest aspirations into being. White precious opal focuses more on connection with divine realms and aligning all chakras, while black opal is more for delving into the depths of one’s own unconscious mind, making it useful for shamanic work and past-life work.
  • Fire opal is predominantly resonant with the navel chakra, which means it awakens passions. These are often related to sexuality, but it can bring all kinds of ecstasy. Some say it can activate the kundalini, which is a process of energetic awakening that travels from your root chakra upwards; for this reason, it is entirely possible that the ecstasy associated with fire opal will take on different qualities which resonate with each chakra as it moves along – starting with physical, then emotional, then mental, and eventually spiritual passions and ecstasy. It also stimulates creativity and non-verbal expression.
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