Opal Crystals: Appearance, Use & More

Do you find yourself wondering about opals but aren’t sure where you can find out more information? Perhaps you have some opal jewelry and want to know more about the gemstone?

Or maybe you are curious and want to know more? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!

We know how tricky it can be to find out information about opals online. You are met by a wealth of contradicting information that leaves you unsure where to turn or who to trust. 

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Well, no more! Today, we are going to take a deep dive into the world of Opals – we are going to start by looking at their appearances, what they are used for, and the many different types of Opal that can be found across the world. 

What Are Opals?

Opals are naturally occurring gemstones first found in Australia. They are formed from silica (SiO2) and water.

The color and hardness of opals vary depending on their composition. Some are translucent, some opaque, and some are even fluorescent.

Opals are mined in various locations around the world. Most come from Brazil, Russia, India, China, Canada, and the United States. In addition to being beautiful stones, they also have several unique properties.

Opals are the birthstone for October. They are often used to imbue a sense of confidence, self-worth, and spontaneity. They can be paired with Clear Quartz to make them more potent. 

Now that we have established what opals are, let’s dive in and look at this gemstone in closer detail. 

Opal Appearance 

Opals are most famous for the dancing colors that can be spotted inside the crystal (known as pleochroism).

They are one of a very small group of crystals that this happens to – and that is one of the many reasons why crystal lovers find them so fascinating. 

As you will see later in this article, there are many different types of Opals. Some Opals look so unexpected that you would not be able to tell they were Opals without looking at their molecular structure.

The most common form of opal is a flat stone that has been cut into a variety of shapes. They are fairly easy to cut but do not cope well with heat – this is why you will find them mostly set into Silver, which has a much lower melting point than gold or platinum. 

They can be purchased polished or unpolished. Polishing removes small amounts of material which gives it its shine. Unpolished opals look like natural stones with no polish.

Opals are known for having many unusual physical properties. For example, they are transparent, they fluoresce under UV light, and they are non-toxic.

They have a high refractive index. This means that when light enters an opal it bends at different angles than if it were made out of glass or crystal.

They are very hard and durable. They can be scratched by steel wool but not by human fingernails. They are also highly conductive. This makes them useful as electrodes in electrical circuits.

Opals are composed primarily of silicon dioxide (silica).

They contain other elements such as iron, magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, titanium, aluminum, manganese, chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, lead, sulfur, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and phosphorus.

Opal Uses 

There are four main ways in which Opals are used as follows: 

  • in beauty products
  • in jewelry
  • in electric circuits
  • for spiritual healing. 

Within these uses, there are many different ways opals are used. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways they are used now. 

Beauty Products

One of the most popular ways to use Opals is in skincare products. These include face masks, body scrubs, moisturizers, and lip balms. They are said to be especially good for those who suffer from acne.

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The gems are ground up into a fine powder and mixed into the beauty product. Some people also have beauty tools made out of Opal, the same way they would with Jade and Quartz. 

Jewelry

Another way that people use Opals is in jewelry. Jewelers use them to create rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and pendants. They are also used to decorate watches and clocks. 

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Opals are tough stones, but they can crack if they get too hot. 

In some cases, the gemstones are mounted on metal plaques. The metal is then encased in a piece of clear plastic before being made into jewelry so that the gemstone shines through. 

Electric Circuits

Another way that people use Opal is in electric circuits. In this case, the gems are used to help transmit electricity – which they are incredibly efficient at doing. 

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When electricity flows through a circuit, there is resistance. If the resistance is low enough, the current will flow smoothly. But if the resistance is higher, the current will slow down.

This is why Opals are often used in phones, microwaves, and even in computers.

Spiritual Healing

Finally, Opals, like many other crystals, are used in spiritual healing. People believe that they can absorb energy from the environment and transfer it back to another person or out into the universe.

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This is done by placing the stone in contact with a practitioner’s skin. It is believed that the energy passes through the skin and into the stone.

The energy can then be transferred to someone else or cleansed from the stone. 

The stone itself can also have its properties that it can transfer to the user. Opals are thought to bring peace, happiness, balance, and harmony.

They are most notably linked with helping users to build confidence, a sense of self-worth, pride, and the ability to leave their comfort zone.

Opals And Chakras 

Many of the spiritual meanings that we give to Opals are related to their relationship with the Chakras. 

What Are Chakras? 

Chakras are centers of energy in our bodies. Each one has a different purpose. 

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For example, the Root Chakra is located near your tailbone. It helps us connect with the Earth and our roots. It gives us strength and stability.

The Sacral Chakra is located between our waist and genitals. It helps us relate to other people and our emotions. It makes us more compassionate. 

The Solar Plexus Chakra is located between the navel and heart. It helps us make decisions and take action. It allows us to express ourselves freely.

The Heart Chakra is located just above the breast bone. It helps us love others and feel connected to all living things. It lets us know when we need to let go of something for us to grow.

The Throat Chakra is located right below the Adam’s apple. It helps us communicate effectively with others. It helps us learn how to speak our truth.

The Crown Chakra is located at the top of the head. It helps us understand who we truly are. It helps us see beyond the physical world.

These Chakras are not always separate. Sometimes they overlap each other. For instance, the Sacral Chakra can be found working with the Heart Chakra. Or the Throat Chakra can be found paired with the Crown Chakra.

What Chakras Are Opals Connected To? 

Three Chakras are connected to Opals  

  1. Crown Chakra – All Opals 
  2. Throat Chakras – Water Opals 
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra – Fire Opals 

Opals And The Crown Chakra 

Opals are often linked to the Crown Chakra because they allow us to see ourselves for what we are. 

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Many people say that when you look at an Opal, it looks like a crown. That is because the stones are made up of many layers of minerals.

You often see streaks of gold, red, and blue inside of Opals – all of which are considered royal colors. 

When we focus on the Crown Chakra, we are focusing on our connection to the Universe. We are connecting to the stars, planets, and everything else that exists outside of our bodies.

This means that we can tap into the infinite power that lies within the cosmos. 

When we use Opals in meditation, we are opening our minds to these connections. We are allowing our consciousness to expand beyond our perception of self. 

Opals And The Throat Chakra

We link Blue (Water) Opals with the Throat Chakra because they help us find our voice – as do many other water-related stones. They help us to express our feelings without being afraid of judgment or criticism. 

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When we meditate with Opals, we are learning to trust ourselves. We are learning to believe in our intuition. We are learning to listen to our inner voice.

We are learning to follow our dreams. People often think of Opals as having physical healing powers. But there is much more to them than that. 

 

Opals And The Solar Plexus Chakra 

Many chose to use crystals on their Solar Plexus Chakra because they want to create balance in their lives.

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When we use Opals in this way, we are helping our bodies to stay healthy. We are helping our minds to stay balanced. We are helping our spirit to remain grounded. 

Water Opals are often used to bring about peace and harmony. They help us to connect with our higher selves. They help us to live in the present moment. 

Fire Opals are often chosen to bring out our passion. They help us to release anger and frustration. They help us to open up to new opportunities.

They help us to become more confident. Earth Opals are often chosen for grounding purposes. They help us to feel safe and secure. They help us to ground our energy.

Types Of Opal Crystals To Use In Your Practice 

Before we leave you, we are going to take the time to look at the 10 most common types of Opals. 

We will be looking at where they can be found, what they look like, and the spiritual properties they contain. 

White Opals 

These are the most common types of Opals and the type that most people associate with the name Opal. They have a beautiful, soft, white color.

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The hardness is between 5-6 on the Mohs scale. These crystals only occur deep within the Earth’s crust where it has been heated by volcanic activity.

White Opals are often found in large pieces or as small chips. This crystal can be clear to translucent depending on how much heat was involved during its formation.

It is also possible for these stones to be stained from exposure to water or other chemicals. Different chemicals cause different flecks of color to form inside the Crystal. 

The best-known source of this stone is in Australia. Many places around the world produce opals – notably North America and Mexico –  but they are not nearly as plentiful as those from Australia.

Black Opals 

Black Opals are mostly found in the town of Lightning Ridge, in New Zealand. While this town produces a lot of stones, they rarely find a high-quality stone while mining.

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This means that high-quality black opals can be very expensive. 

Black Opals are known as “the stone of transformation.” Black Opals have been used by shamans around the globe for thousands of years.

They are said to represent the transition from one life stage to another. They are also associated with the element of Water.

Black Opals are not black, instead, they have a dark (usually brown or very dark gray) tone as the majority of their body. However, when placed next to white Opals it is easy to understand how they got their name. 

 When looking at the center of the stone, it will appear more blue than green. If you look outside it may look very dark. Many compare Black Opals to the Northern Lights in the night sky. 

Boulder Opal

Boulder Opal is the term that is used to refer to an Opal that has formed inside of another rock. Sometimes, only a small sliver of Opal grows, but sometimes, it can take up much of the individual stone. 

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Boulder Opals are typically found in sedimentary rocks such as sandstone or siltstone. The most common type of Boulder Opal is called “Fossilized” Boulder Opal because it was once part of a larger piece of rock.

It usually takes on the shape of the original rock and often contains other fossils. 

Rocks that contain Boulder Opals tend to cleave (split in half) naturally, exposing the Opal within. Most Boulder Opals are dark with blue and green streaks of color inside them.

But, White Opals have also been discovered growing in this same way. 

In Australia, where most Boulder Opals have been found, the crystals have grown in cracked Iron Boulder stones.  

Fire Opals

Fire Opals are typically found in Mexico and are often called Mexican Opals although they are not technically the same thing.

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You may even see them referred to as Jelly Opals. Fire Opals typically form alongside other gems. They are usually found within a matrix of quartz, feldspar, or other minerals.

The most common fire opal is the “fire-red” variety which has a bright red to orange coloration due to iron oxide impurities.

Other colors include yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, black, white, gray, and even gold! Fire opals can be found in many different shapes including spheres, cubes, pyramids, ovals, biconvex discs. 

Most Fire Opals are transparent with rich flecks of red, black, and gold in them. They often look their best when lit from underneath.

When lit this way they can look like magma or even are burning fire – hence their name. 

Matrix Opal

Matrix Opals are very similar to Boulder Opals and they can be found mostly in Southern Australia. Matrix Opals are also called “cubic matrix”.

They can have a cubic shape, but the faces of the cube are not flat, instead, they are slightly curved. 

They tend not to be as visually pleasing as Boulder Opals. 

Most Matrix Opals on the market are chemically treated – as they are usually quite dull when they are first mined.

Many of them are boiled and then soaked in a sugar solution to bring out more colors and to make them look clearer. 

Like Boulder Opals, they grow in the gaps of other rocks and can only be found by breaking the rocks. 

Girasol Opal (Water Opal) 

These are slightly harder than White Opals and have a blue tint when viewed under certain lighting conditions.

Blue Girasol Opals are usually quite rare and tend to be smaller than other types of opals, but they can still be found in fairly large deposits across the world. They are mostly found in Oregon and Mexico.

Water Opals are also known as Girasol Opals and Hyalite or Muller’s Glass. All of these names refer to the fact that most Water Opals are nearly completely clear with flecks of blue, purple, or silver within them. They look like a deep pool of spring water. 

Some Girasol Opals have an unusual appearance because their surface is covered with tiny hexagonal prisms that give them a honeycomb-like appearance. 

Truly clear Girasol Opals are incredibly rare and can be very expensive. Your best chance of getting your hands on one is to buy directly from a dealer in Mexico.

Peruvian Opal 

Peruvian Opals are often called Blue-Green Opals. They have a blue coloration and a greenish tint, which is caused by the presence of iron inclusions.

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The color can vary from light to dark depending on the amount of iron present. The most common variety is known as “Blue-green” because it has a bluish tinge; however, there are also varieties that are more yellow or grayish.

The opal’s hardness ranges from 6.5 to 7.0 on the Mohs scale – they are harder than White and Black Opals.

The name Peruvian comes from Peru, where most of these stones were first found. They are very rare, but some mines produce large quantities of them every year.

It is possible to find some of these stones in North America and Mexico. 

Like Mexican Opals, Peruvians do not display pleochroism. Pleochroism refers to the dancing and apparent movement of the flecks within the gem. 

Honey Opals 

Honey Opals are the most common type of opal found in nature, and they are often called “honey” because of their honey-like appearance.

They can be found in many different colors, including white, black, red, blue, green, yellow, brown, orange, pink, purple, violet, gray, or any combination thereof.

The color of a honey opal is determined by its composition.

A typical honey opal contains silica (SiO2) as the main component, with other elements such as iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, aluminum, titanium, chromium, manganese, nickel, and various other minerals. 

The classic Honey Opal is completely honey (or amber) colored and fairly transparent. They are typically found in large, flat pieces that range from 1 to 10 inches in diameter.

They have a very high refractive index, which means that light bends around them at an angle. This causes them to appear translucent when viewed directly but opaque when viewed obliquely. 

Synthetic Opal

Some Opals on the market are made synthetically or altered to make them look more interesting. This is more common than most people think.

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The first synthetic opal was created in 1872 by a German chemist named Albert von Schottky, who used an electric arc to melt and fuse silica into glass.

He then added a few other elements to create what we know as synthetic opal today.

Another example of this is some “Fire Opals” which have been altered using heat to create their signature red color. Its name comes from the fact that it looks like flames when viewed under black light.

There are many different types of synthetic opals, but they all share one thing: they are not natural opals. They are man-made objects with no real connection to nature.

Some Opal sellers will use these techniques to make basic stones look more valuable than they are. 

Summary 

Opals are crystals that can be found all over the world. There are roughly 10 recognized types of Opal but more are being discovered all the time. 

Opals can be used in skincare, electronic circuits, and jewelry. They are also used in the spiritual practices of many people around the world. They are also the birthstone of October.

Opals are typically used to help a person raise their self-esteem and to make them feel braver and more capable.

Gloria White

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