Everyone included me just loved Marcy Coral's pink opal beads. Thanks Marcy of Jewelrygeeks.com for such a generous gift! You've caused a lot of serious drooling.

Some of you who left comments declared opals to be your favorite gemstone. I wonder if those who did have birthdays in October? As most of you know, there is a superstition about opal being unlucky if it is not your birthstone.

It dates back to relatively recent times - to the novel Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter "Ivanhoe" Scott published in 1829. The wearing of opal caused the death of a character, Lady Hermione. In the book, she wore an enchanted opal. The radiance of the gemstone was somehow linked to her life.  So when a few drops of holy water was dropped on it, the opal radiance was quenched and what was left of poor Lady Hermione was a pile of ashes. This book was in part the cause of plummeting opal prices soon after! (Reference : Jewels: A Secret History).

Opal has actually been highly regarded throughout history. The US Geological Survey mineral site lists some of the beliefs - the Ancient Greeks thought "opals gave their owners the powers of foresight and prophecy, and the Romans adored it as a token of hope and purity. Eastern people regarded it as sacred, and Arabs believed it fell from heaven." Arabic scholars believed opal's fiery color originated in lightning flashes and called them "thunderstones". They wrote about good fortune and good health going to those who wore them. Medieval blondes wore opals hoping the gemstone would prevent their hair from darkening or fading. Opal's old nickname was patronus furum (patron of thieves) because the stones were thought to make the wearers invisible! You can read more on the history and folklore of opal here.

We have no idea of its origin but here is an interesting Ganoskin forum post written by miners and cutters of Peruvian blue and pink opal. Take care of opals - keep them from extreme heat.

So who would be taking good care of these opals? The 7th commenter and thus winner as determined by random.org is Dyan. Congratulations!! I look forward to getting an email from you soon - beadinggem [at] yahoo dot ca.

Are you a secret lurker who has a jewelry store or supply store? Want more exposure? Then contact me asap if you are interested in doing a giveaway on The Beading Gem's Journal!

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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