Opal is a beautiful and highly prized iridescent gemstone. It usually forms with a milky white color displaying flashes of blue and green, though there is a rarer 'Fire Opal' that has blue green color and flashes of red iridescence. Opal was very popular in ancient Rome, where it was called 'pederast', a name that compares the stone to the fresh beauty of a child.
Opals can dry out and crack quite easily, so in jewelry they are often protected by being set as 'doubles' or 'triplets', either topped by or sandwiched between thin layers of clear Quartz crystal.
Many people consider Opal to be an unlucky stone, and the story behind this myth is fascinating, although I cannot verify it. According to legend an 18th century merchant who wanted to buy a large quantity of Opals at the best possible price spread a rumour about them being unlucky to reduce demand and therefore reduce the price. Unfortunately his ruse worked too well and his own clients refused to buy his Opals because they had heard they were supposed to bring bad luck!
Another reason that Opal may be considered 'unlucky' is because it is known as the Stone of Truth. When used in magic it can be a brutally frank and honest stone, showing you clearly who you are, where you are and what you are doing wrong - truths that many people would prefer to avoid. Opals are used in magic to see through falsehoods and trickery, find that which is hidden, reveal the secret plots of your enemies or clearly show the truth of any situation. It is also used in spells to encourage hope, protect the innocent, and bring success to people striving towards their personal or spiritual goals. Opal is said to help open the 3rd Eye and increase spiritual and magical understanding. It is sometimes known as the Stone of the Mystic because of this ability.
Whether making a wish or working a spell, Opal should always be used with care. It is said that the Stone of Truth can cause great harm and misfortune to anyone who uses it deceitfully or for selfish and harmful magic, which may be another reason why the stone has earned a reputation for bad luck over the centuries. Despite its reputation, Opal (like all stones and any other tool used in magic) is neutral until its energy is influenced by the person working with it, and other legends claim that the stone brings good fortune and happiness to the innocent at heart.