Has someone ever advised you against wearing an opal stone? Perhaps you've heard it's cursed or brings bad luck. So, what's the big deal with all this superstition? Is there an opal curse, and if so, what is it? The most well-known source is Sir Walter Scott's novel Anne of Geierstein, published in 1829.
On the other hand, others claim that the notion dates back to the Black Plague or perhaps ancient Rome. Since Scott, numerous authors have associated opals with evil, most famously in the Harry Potter series with the cursed opal stone necklace. Is this, however, merely a fiction trope? Is there any solid evidence? Is it a century-old marketing ploy, or is it something else entirely? We'll answer these and other questions to finally separate fact from myth when it comes to opals.
The Superstitions Origins
As we all know, myths do not appear out of anywhere; they begin in stories passed down, particularly by artists and authors. So, let's have a look at some of the sources that started this notion.
Sir Walter Scott is a Scottish author.
As previously stated, Scott's novel Anne of Geierstein is the most prominent source of the opals being cursed. His account sparked a worldwide interest in opals and the supernatural. A character wearing a rare opal stone hair clip caught fire spontaneously in the chapter in question. The character seemed to bring out the stone's magic, but when holy water was applied, the stone became black, and the woman fainted, eventually reduced to ash by dawn. Both characters and readers assumed that because holy water is used in exorcisms, opals must be demonic. At the very least, people believed it brought ill-luck, resulting in a 50% decline in opal stone sales. The novel, however, was not the sole cause of this.
The Black Plague was a disease that spread throughout Europe
You've undoubtedly heard of the disease, sometimes known as "The Black Death," which struck Europe during the Middle Ages. We've all heard of rats and frightening masks, but you may not be aware that the epidemic lasted for decades. A few decades after Scott's book was published, one of the occasional outbreaks occurred. The 1860 pandemic, sometimes known as the "third pandemic," was catastrophic.
Because the public didn't know the specific science underlying the reason, many people blamed supernatural forces. Rumours concerning the initial Black Plague returned, as expected. One of the most famous stated that after one of her patients died, the colour in the opal stone she was wearing vanished.
This only added to the opal's reputation for being associated with curses and death. Even though the scientific cause of the disease was revealed only a few months after the third pandemic began, some people made it their purpose to fan the flames of the opal stone debate.
Dealers in Diamonds
Diamonds were the most popular gem on the market around 1900. Isn't that surprising? However, as opal imports began to flood the United States and Europe, primary diamond dealers were concerned about losing market share. Therefore, they spread more tales about the jewel to keep the competition at bay. The shattering of opals was one of the sources of one of these rumours. While opals are prone to retaining moisture and cracking throughout the drying process, the sellers stated that every stone cracked was bad luck.
Given that they were selling diamonds, the hardest stone to fracture, it's easy to see why they chose to lay down opals like this. However, because of the dealers' prominence at the time, the stories were so widespread that many people still believed them. "Shouldn't I just avoid this stone if everything about it is negative?" you might wonder. On the contrary, in fact! For only this one harmful belief, a few legends and customs highlight opals' beautiful qualities!
Opal Stone Mythology's Positive Side
The notion that opals are hazardous is a relatively new phenomenon when compared to the long history of opal stone stories. Ancient Romans created their own lore about the stone's power long before the Black Plague — we're talking the first century A.D. here. Many Romans thought the opal's colourful show was due to other jewels growing inside it, such as rubies and sapphires.
Others claimed that encasing one in a bay leaf made one invisible. However, one lasting relationship was with riches, and this was a connection that spanned the globe.
Good Luck and Opals
Those in positions of prominence in Rome would preserve their own particular opals for good luck. According to legend, Julius Caesar tried to persuade a wealthy man to give up his opal stone, but he refused and chose to live in seclusion instead. Since then, several rulers have worn opals, including Queen Victoria and the first Empress of France. Even the Greeks had their own legend about opals, claiming that they could grant clairvoyance. If you travel to the Middle East during Mohammad's reign, you'll hear Arabs describe how opals fell from the sky and were transported to Earth by lightning. Many Europeans wore opal before the Black Plague to improve their vision and prevent their hair colour deterioration.
This could cause the "evil" opal hair clip, given that Scott's work is set during this period. Opals have long been associated with strong emotions, particularly optimism and enthusiasm. They're also known for promoting self-awareness and letting go of the past. These views are most likely based on opal's unusual ability to absorb and reflect a wide range of colours. To some, this resembles the idea of bringing suppressed thoughts or sentiments to the surface, and some people even cleanse their opals in the moonlight to remove any negative energy the stone may have absorbed.
So, what's the final word?
The majority of opal stone stories are based on myths and urban legends. Rumours assist individuals in making sense of a situation they don't comprehend, whereas urban legends entertain or teach a lesson through narrative. When the outcome of an uncertain event has an impact on your life, the rumour can be even more strong. If you're concerned that purchasing a beautiful opal stone will bring you bad luck, keep in mind that these tales are just that: rumours.
However, you may feel more at ease if you follow the metaphysical technique of encircling the opal with diamonds to counteract its energy. Opals are spectacular gemstones renowned for their iridescence at the end of the day. The only importance of the "opal stone curse" tales is that they have added mystery and interest to an already beautiful stone.