Opal comes from the Latin "opallios," meaning “precious stone.” It is a solidified gel of silicon dioxide and water. This stone has a long history of being unlucky, contrary to the writings of Kuntz, who claims it is a modern superstition attributed to a fictional novel by Sir Walter Scott. The novel in question is about an enchanted baroness who is undone when holy water lands upon the source of her power, an opal hairpiece. This story does not exactly justify the ominous nature attributed to the opal, especially when he defeats his own explanation by addressing the prior legends of opal’s darker aspects that existed centuries before the novel was even written.
               In fact the only positive attributes are from some ancient philosophers like Pliny who upon inspection are quite obviously speaking of another stone. While Pliny's opalus does at first seem to describe our opal with its many radiant colors, he goes on to say it is easily imitated and hard, which we know to be incorrect. The stone we know as opal remains to this day the one of the most difficult to mimic and is quite soft. The same holds true of the few ancient authors who ascribe to this stone positive benefits.
               In closing there are a few odd attributes to this stone besides the vague luck factor. It is said to tell when someone who is ill is going to die because it fades with the owner's life. And it is said to make the wearer invisible, and make his actions go unnoticed a trait that caused this stone to be known as the "Patron of Thieves".

Colors:
White to black background with multihued iridescence                     
Locations:
Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Japan, Honduras, and the USA.
Composition:
SiO2 - nH2O, hydrated silicon dioxide
Hardness:
4 - 5.5


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