Thursday, March 5, 2009

Magical, Mystical Boulder Opals

Boulder opals have always held a special fascination for me. Perhaps it's because opal is my birthstone, but it's probably more likely I'm simply mesmerized by those mysterious flashes of glowing color that seem to be alive inside the stone.

In mythology, the Gods regarded opal as the embodiment of the beauty of all precious stones. They do seem to contain all the wonderful colors of gems. I guess that's why they look so incredible mixed with gems of every color. How satisfying it is to hold a boulder opal in my hand, carefully examine it from every angle, noticing the colors so I can decide what colored gems will best bring out its beauty. Hmmm....shall I use kyanite to match that royal blue spark, or spessartite to pull out that fiery orange flash? Perhaps some amethyst to highlight that bit of purple, or maybe some peridot and Swiss blue topaz to enrich the blues and greens. It's fun to ponder questions for which every answer is the right one!

Boulder opal is only found in Queensland, Australia. Formed millions of years ago when a solution flowed through the cracks and cubbies of ironstone boulders. Through heat, pressure, and the mysterious hand of Mother Nature, this marvel of a gemstone is formed. It's not difficult to find the scientific facts about boulder opal if you do a little research, but for me, the science of it pales against the magical, spiritual beauty of opal.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who senses the magic of this stone since the Shamans of Australia and Native American Indians have used opals to invoke visions during ceremonial vision quests and Aboriginal 'dream time'. The Aborigines believe that opal represents something an ancestor left behind and is sign of his or her spiritual presence. Little wonder opals feel so alive!

The ancient Romans called opal cupid paederos, meaning child as beautiful as love and regarded it as a symbol of hope and purity. Aah, yes, a symbol of hope, another reason to be drawn to this stone now.

Ancient Greeks believed that opal gave the bearer the power of prophesy and foresight. It's easy to see why flashes of insight might be attributed to this stone that flashes such glowing colors in the light.

The Arabs believed that opals fell from the heavens in flashes of lightning. I can almost imagine that being true. At the very least, I have to believe heaven sent them as a gift to humans, to stimulate our imaginations, our creativity, our dreams, our hopes, our deepest thoughts.