The History and Lore of the Opal

The dazzling Opal has a magical and unique history. 


Like the month itself, October brings a touch of magic with its mystical birthstone. The October Birthstone is widely admired for its unique, dazzling display of colors. This captivating gemstone is the Opal



The Opal has not only a spectacular look and feel, but an enchanting, rich history to pair. Cultures around the world have treasured opals for hundreds of years, and writers, admirers, and artists have crafted enthralling names and stories for the magnificent stone. 


In Ancient Rome, many were marveled by the magnificent Opal. To the curious Romans, this gemstone symbolized love and hope. They gave it the name “Opalus,” meaning “precious stone.” In 75 AD, The historic Roman scholar Pliny observed the wonder of the Opal, “Some opali carry such a play within them that they equal the deepest and richest colors of painters. Others…simulate the flaming fire of burning sulphur and even the bright blaze of burning oil.” 




Many cultures believed that the Opal had supernatural origins and powers. Arabic folkloric legends say that Opal fell from the heavens in flashes of lightning. The ancient Greeks believed that the Opal gave its owners powers of foresight and prophecy as well as guarded them from disease. 


Opal’s modern name is derived from intelligent observations all around the world! In Sanskrit, Opal was called “Upala,” meaning “precious stone.” In Latin, it was called “Opalus.” In Greek, it was called “Opallios,” meaning “to see a color change.” Each language formed their own name for the mystical Opal, and each recognized its ethereal beauty. 




Le Vian’s unique Opal is the Neopolitan Opal, sourced in Ethiopia. It is revered for its kaleidoscopic nature, with each stone encompassing so many colors. Silica spheres within this gemstone diffract light and cause its magnificent play-of-color! 


Neapolitan Opal comes in many shapes, sizes, and styles. Find the piece for you at any Le Vian retailer, and take a peek in person at stores like Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Macy’s, Belk, and Kay Jewelers! Wear your October Birthstone and enchant those around you with its prismatic rainbows and rich, magical history.