Main index --- Minerals list --- Silicates index --- Jewelry index Opal
Derivation:From "opallis" (Greek) perhaps from "upala" (Sanscrit) gem
Formula: SiO2.nH2O (there is a variable amount of water)
Description: Milky white with a brilliant play of colours when you tilt it, in blues, reds, yellows or greens.

Opal is a precious stone. It is very beautiful. It was rare and highly prized in the classical world. The most famous opal in history was owned by the Roman senator Nonius, which was valued at 2 million sesterces (300,000). He accepted exile rather than giving it up to Mark Anthony.

Opal has long been thought to bring ill-fortune. Alphonso XII of Spain presented an opal ring to his wife on his wedding day, and she died soon after. Before the funeral, he gave the ring to his sister, who died a few days later. He then gave it to his sister-in-law, and she died within 3 months. Alphonso, surprised by all these deaths, wore it himself, and within a short time (you've guessed it) he died. One feels that, on the whole, this was the reward for stupidity!

Larger pictures of Opal:

These are natural specimens.


Opal Opal

These are opal chips in a small bottle of water (to magnify them).