Opal is October Birthstone. The name comes from Romans - “opalus”, which means “precious stone”. For it’s stunning play-of-color, Romans considered Opal the most precious and powerful stone of all.
There are two grades of Opals - precious & common - the difference between the two is play-of-color. Precious Opal has a visible play-of-color, while common opal doesn’t.
This gemstone is a product of seasonal rains - dry deep ancient underground in combination with silica affected by seasonal rains - when the ground dried again, most of the water evaporated & the silica leftovers with the underground sedimentary rock formed opal.
Many cultures considered Opal having a supernatural origins & magical powers, and throughout the history it has been considered the luckiest & most magical of all gems. Arabic legend sees it’s origin in flashes of lightning, ancient Greeks believed it would protect them from diseases. In Europe, Opal was long considered to be a symbol of hope, purity & truth. Artist saw galaxies & fireworks in Opal.
Opal strength is 5-6.5 on Mohs Scale. Opals are stunning but delicate & porous stones, thus they are sensitive to heat & liquids, but giving a wash from time to time with some soap water & then drying it (so not letting it be soaked) is fine. Also, don’t expose your opal to extreme conditions of light, heat, or dryness.