If you know anything about opals, you know their range of colors is vast enough to make Picasso jealous. In fact, ancient Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder claimed opal’s color play could “equal the deepest and richest colors of painters.” One of the most beautiful varieties is blue opal, whose shades range from the deep teal-colored Peruvian opals to the delicate light blue opal.
For centuries, royalty from all over the world adorned themselves with opals of various hues. White opal graced the Holy Roman Emperor’s crown in the 13th century, while Queen Elizabeth II still wears the Australian black opal spray brooch she received as a wedding gift in 1947.
October babies are honored with the lucky blue opal birthstone. While many birthstones were added in modern times or given as alternatives for other stones, opal was the only October birthstone for many years until the addition of tourmaline in 1952. If you’re into spiritual stones, this sky-like gem is the mystical birthstone for April!
Are you a Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces? Blue opal is a zodiac stone for all three water signs, reflecting the element in color and imbuing these sensitive signs with confidence and assurance.
If you’re ready to learn more about the symbolism and spiritual benefits of blue opal, follow along as we take you on a journey through this stone’s spiritual history.
Let’s start with the basics first.
Blue opal is a variety of the gemstone opal that comes in shades of blue and blue-green. Note that the term “blue opal” sometimes refers to a mostly opaque, teal-colored variety of common opal found in Peru.
Peruvian blue opal is such a staple of the country, they made it their national stone. Peru and its neighboring country Brazil are also known for the increasingly rare Paraiba opal, a bluish-green variety resembling the color of sea glass.
Beyond South America, where does blue opal come from?
Slovakia and Indonesia produce blue opal, while the United States has opal mines in Nevada, Idaho, and Oregon. Oregon’s Owyhee opals were a recent find, displaying soothing light or dark shades of pastel blue.
Blue opal gemstones are not a mineral, like other gemstones, but an amorphous mineraloid. Meaning, the chemical composition is composed of microcrystalline silica spheres that layer to refract the blue light spectrum!
Blue opals come in both common and precious varieties. Precious opals show play-of-color, while common opals don’t. Peru produces both types, with some specimens containing small zones of color play.
Speaking of colors, how does an opal become blue in the first place?
Blue is pretty rare in nature, which begs the question: Is blue opal natural? Yes, the earth creates opals in stunning blue hues.
Like any opal, blue opals consist of microscopic hydrated silica spheres. The size and proximity of the spheres determines which opal color we see because of how light bounces through the crevices between the spheres.
Blue opal color comes about when the spheres are smaller (whereas larger spheres produce red or orange opal.) Sometimes, mineral inclusions contribute to natural blue opal color. With Peruvian opal, for instance, secondary copper inclusions lead to the blue-green coloring.
Is blue opal rare? While this calming hue is a fairly common opal color, quite a few of blue opal’s traits set it apart from other gemstones. The stone belongs to its own “Opal” species, rather than the “Beryl” or “Quartz” family, for instance.
Common blue opal emits a type of iridescence called “adularescence.” Adularescence refers to a glow that appears to be inside the stone, instead of on its surface. The only other gems to possess this trait are moonstone and sometimes rose quartz.
In terms of durability, this gemstone ranks at a 5-6.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, similar to turquoise or hematite.
Impressed yet? You wouldn’t be the first. Blue opal has been revered for centuries!
Based on available records, opal’s history began all the way back in 4000 BC. Archeologists discovered evidence of opals in a Kenyan cave and believe the stones were of Ethiopian origin. Ironically, Ethiopian opal didn’t make a real splash in the gem market until the late 1900s.
The name “opal” has a few possible sources: the Sanskrit upala for “precious stone,” and the ancient Greek opallios or Latin opallus, both meaning “to see a change in color.”
Before we had the technology to discover why some opals showed color play, this phenomenon was magical. Before the Middle Ages, people called opals “Queen of Gems,” out of the belief that opals must’ve contained every gemstone within them.
Speaking of mystical beliefs, have you ever heard that opals are cursed? The superstition that opals are bad luck or bring negative energy became a widespread myth, but it’s just that: a myth. The negative associations go a few centuries back, but the true downfall of opal’s reputation started with two pieces of fiction: an 1829 novel by Sir Walter Scott and an 1874 short story by Charles Dickens.
Opal’s unfortunate reputation wasn’t cleared until a plethora of Australian black opals peaked consumers’ interest. Before this discovery, opal mines were few and far between, with Slovakia as the world’s only widely-known source for centuries.
Despite the bad reputation opals held for a bit, blue opals have taken on a myriad of meanings throughout their time on earth. So, what is the spiritual meaning of blue opal?
Blue opal is brimming with mystical interpretations from various cultures and civilizations, ranging from Greece and Rome to the ancient Incas. So, what does blue opal symbolize? It depends who you ask.
In ancient Greece, opals were seen as conduits for oracle-like powers, providing the wearer with clairvoyant abilities. Additionally, Greeks and Romans saw opals as celestial gifts of protection that could fend off illness or misfortune. In Greek mythology, blue opals formed from the joyful tears of Zeus, god of the sky, after he defeated the Titans.
Arabic myths tell a similar story. According to legend, gods sent the stone from heaven through lightning bolts! Of course, Peruvian blue opal meaning ties into South American mythos as well. The ancients claimed the gem was a gift from the Inca earth goddess, Pachamama.
In fact, numerous ancient cultures nicknamed opals after the mythological or the mystical, with examples like “Pandora” and “The Eye Stone.”
Over in Europe, blue opals became symbols of innocence and hope. In some places, opal’s connection to hope was even stronger, often being symbolically put within anchors in jewelry.
Later on in the United States, Oregon's Owyhee blue opals purportedly connected you to the spirit realm, allowing you to receive guidance and strengthen your spiritual abilities.
The most common thread for blue opal meaning is luck. Almost every society that possessed this jewel saw it as a good luck charm. We can’t blame ‘em!
Okay, we’ve got the spiritual meaning down, but what does opal do spiritually?
Like any gemstone out there, opals are wonderful tools for spiritual healing. With their symbolic ocean hues, blue opal possesses a few metaphysical abilities of its own.
What does blue opal help with?
Blue opals make particularly powerful emotional healing stones. In general, blue stones offer serenity and wisdom, as well as spiritual awakening.
If you’re struggling with an emotional hang-up, like a recent breakup or a difficult heart-based decision, try blue opal. The stone can quiet those anxious thoughts buzzing around and help you find the thoughtful insight you need moving forward. Moreover, the stone can imbue confidence, so you’ll feel certain about your decision.
Additionally, like the Owyhee legends, these gems offer a connection between our physical and spiritual self.
In literature, the sky often represents the celestial or spiritual realm, where many seek guidance. As a counterpart, the sea’s water represents our physical selves, born to be grounded to earth.
The blues and greens inside this opal variety reflect both the sea and sky in color, making the stone a tether for spiritual journeys. Plus, the two seemingly opposite forces represented together reminds us that balance is paramount to happiness.
On the topic of balancing, let’s talk about which chakra this opal can balance!
Blue opal corresponds to the throat chakra.
The throat chakra is located at the throat. (Big surprise there, right?) This chakra controls all of our communication, from how we interpret our thoughts to how we express ourselves. In a broader sense, the throat chakra is how we find our voice and discover our purpose.
A blocked throat chakra is bad news for us and the people around us. We may bottle up our feelings until we end up lashing out or isolating ourselves from the world.
A blue-colored opal can help balance, or open, the throat chakra. A balanced throat chakra helps us accept our truest self and share our gifts with the world. Instead of holding back out of fear, we can simply take a step back for self-awareness before confidently speaking our truth.
Before we wrap up, are blue opals valuable?
Blue opals might not gain first choice compared to black opals, but they still fetch a pretty penny thanks to their watery hues and neon patterns. So, is blue opal expensive? The value of a blue opal largely depends on its body tone or background color. The color density and intensity of the hue plays a large role in valuation as well.
For instance, a duller blue opal with a dark background can cost about $50 a carat. But as the color intensity increases that price can double. The most expensive blue opals will have a very dark background, nearly black, with bright, radiant colors flashing across the gemstone. In fact, a blue opal exhibiting blue-green colors can cost more than a boulder or crystal opal.
These gorgeous blue opals can cost $250 per carat. Ultimately, because opals are each entirely distinct, valuing a blue opal will boil down to color intensity, background, and gem quality.
Some blue opals are so extraordinary in color, they can fetch thousands, like this striking azure Andamooka Opal from South Australia:
Blue opals are sourced from several places around the globe. Of course, we mentioned the famous Peruvian blue opal. However, like most opals, Australia contributes a large supply of blue opals to the global market. Australian blue fire opal largely comes from mining sites in Lightning Ridge.
These spectacular opals combine blue opal crystal with the play-of-color seen in fire opal. If you hold one in your hand, you’ll be mesmerized by neon blues, purples, and greens dancing against a dark blue body tone. These flame-like patterns truly place blue fire opal in a class all their own!
That covers everything you need to know about the details of the beautiful blue opal gemstone! Whether you’re looking for an October birthstone in everyone’s favorite color or some spiritual guidance, this gem has your back. And if you’ve been looking to snag the next blue gemstone in your collection, look no farther than blue opal!
Blue opal may not be the first opal color you think of, but this stone’s myriad of magical qualities can offer a spiritual transformation you won’t forget.
Ready to let your blue colors shine through? Buy a blue opal today!
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