Opals: A Play Of Light

Opals: A Play Of Light

From the bright blaze of fire to a delicate, subtle glow, opals—with the myriad hues and moods that they carry within them—have cast a spell across millennia.

Text: Trishita Khanderia

At the zenith of the Roman civilization, this ephemeral gem came to symbolize love and hope, so much so that they named it 'Opalus', synonymous with 'precious stone'. Through the years, writers and artists have bestowed a number of epithets upon it—Pandora, Light of the World and Empress are but a few.

A product of seasonal rains in dry, arid regions, opals were considered precious because of their rarity. As a gemstone valuable in antiquity, it was prized by royalty, which was further bolstered by its mystical associations.

For the Arabs, such a beautiful gemstone could only have fallen from the heavens when lightning occurred, while the ancient Greeks believed that opals gave their owners the gift of prophecy and guarded them from disease. Medieval Europeans considered the stone as a symbol of hope, purity and truth.

Armeen wears our Odxel opal family from our Holiday Release 2020 collection

One myth, whose roots are lost to time, speaks of a storm god whose bluster was ended by a rainbow. Incensed, he threw a bolt of lightning at it, shattering it onto the earth where the pieces got embedded into the soil and created the opal. Another myth talks about how wrapping an opal in a fresh bay leaf would render the wearer invisible!

The precious stone can be sourced from across the world, although Australia is cited as the biggest source with about 95% of the world’s opals originating there. Ethiopia and the United States follow closely behind, while it is also available in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey and Indonesia, among others.

For a stone known for its kaleidoscopic colours, it’s but natural that it has such a coloured history! Magic and mysticism, health and prosperity, power and hope—all have come to symbolise this ever-changing stone. At Lune, we were instantly transfixed by the worlds that the opal holds within. In our Holiday release 2020 we’ve paired it with pearls, 18kt solid gold and gold vermeil to serve as a reminder of origin and change.

 Armeen wears our Odxel opal family from our Holiday Release 2020 collection

About the author // After studying the history and culture of fashion, @trishitakd is constantly searching for meaning, even if it's at the bottom of a glass.