White Opals: History, Symbolism, Meanings, and More!

white opalsDiamonds, pearls, white sapphires, and zircon — these are all gorgeous white gemstones you might recognize. But when deciding on your next piece of white gemstone jewelry, don’t forget to consider the lovely white opal! We know there are many types of opals out there, but we’d like to shed some light on the wonderful qualities of the white opal.

South Australia is home to most of the world’s opals, including white opals. Australia has so many opals, they made the stone their national gemstone, but the first opal appearance was actually in Kenya... from 4,000 BC!

Out of all opals, white opals are the most abundant, which is great news for any opal-jewelry lovers!

Let’s dive into all there is to know about the Australian white opal stone, including the white opal color, white opal benefits, healing properties, and more!

white opal cabochon

What is White Opal?

It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of the white opal properties, specifically the appearance and composition.  

Opal is a mineraloid gemstone made up of silica and water. That silica takes the form of hundreds of hydrated, microscopic silica spheres. The spheres are uniform for a precious opal, while a common opal has uneven and irregular spheres.

Let’s talk about white opal color and clarity. White opals are opaque to translucent with a predominantly white- or cream-colored body. If you notice your white opal looks a bit transparent, you’re likely looking at a white crystal opal.

The ideal white opal? One without too many visible inclusions—unless we’re talking about dendritic opal, which displays gorgeous colors from its inclusions. Inclusions sometimes lower the stone’s value, specifically ones from host rocks or fractures. During formation, opals sometimes latch onto other rocks, and inclusions form, making the stone more prone to damage. 

Remember those hydrated spheres we mentioned? The space in between those spheres refracts light, reflecting gorgeous play-of-color in precious opals or opalescent colors in common opals. The colors you'll see change depend on the angle from which you view the stone.

White opals in particular reflect pastel colors, like baby blue, light rose, and soft yellow. Perfect aesthetic to add some playfulness to your look!

Just don’t play too hard – white opals rank a 5-6.5 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale, making them a bit delicate and prone to scratches.

brazilian white opal freeform cut

White Opal Cut

Is there a way to best bring out white opal’s play of color? Lapidarists are the ones to ask, as these experienced stone cutters are skilled in highlighting opals’ plays of color in the most optimal way. Sometimes custom cuts are expensive, but the average white opal cabochon cut is reasonably priced and oh-so-smooth!

Pro tip: look for opals with thicker, symmetrical cuts for better durability and color play!

With the physical properties covered, it’s time to check out the more abstract, spiritual side of white opals, including the white opal meaning and white opal metaphysical properties.

white opal cameo carving

What Does White Opal Represent?

What does white opal mean spiritually? Depends on who you ask! Let’s start our survey with the ancient Greeks.

The earliest Greeks thought that opals offered wearers foresight, amplified emotions, and windows to the future. Opals were likely present in the oracle visits they made to seek advice and clarity for future decisions. 

People in the Middle Ages also thought opals provided clarity, but in a more literal sense. Known as the “eye stone,” folks at this time thought opals helped promote better eyesight.

Ancient Romans attributed hope and innocence to white opals, while ancient Arabs and Peruvians saw opals as divine gifts.

Clearly white opals were considered precious, which makes sense considering its etymology. To the ancients, what is white opal called? Opal is derived from the Sanskrit word upala, or “precious stone.” Ancient Greeks called opal opallios, meaning “to see a color change.”

Why did ancient peoples attribute such spiritual value to white opals? Maybe it had something to do with the many white opal benefits! But what are the benefits of white opal? 

white opal beaded bracelet

White Opal Healing Properties

The October birthstone connects to our crown chakra. Energy healers believe a crown chakra blockage results in foggy thoughts, headaches, and migraines. 

Opals also assist with spiritual wealth, self-awareness, and connection to the divine. Other spiritual properties include:

·       Support with emotional challenges

·       Encouragement to let go of unhealthy habits

·       Better communication

·       Boosted optimism

·       Improved confidence and inspiration

·       Soothed anxiety

·       Reduced insomnia

White opals offer some great emotional healing benefits, but how about the physical? Crystal healers believe white opals help with certain physical ailments, like:

·       Parkinson’s Disease

·       Tachycardia

·       Diabetes

·       Labor pains

Labor pains? That’s right – for many years, opals symbolized fertility and the divine feminine. Ancient Peruvians thought these ethereal stones were a gift from the Inca goddess of fertility, Pachamama. Some believe white opals offer expectant mothers emotional support before childbirth, including reduced anxiety before labor.   

After childbirth, some crystal-loving moms like to keep opals around to enhance the energy of their home. Opals promote compassion, love, comfort, and warmth, perfect for a baby’s new home.

You can wear an opal amulet or white opal ring if you want to carry some powerful, positive energy wherever you go. They’re known to clear negative auras, absolve worries, awaken your imagination, and boost your mood. Some say historical travelers carried opals with them to show them the way with the radiant light reflected in the colors of the stone!

white opal platinum ring

White Opal and Relationships

One special healing benefit of white opal is its support with communication. This is especially helpful in relationships, as many arguments are often the result of simple miscommunication!

White opals promote balance, openness, and positive thinking. These principles are helpful tools when navigating a relationship, making white opal the perfect gemstone for reconnecting with your loved one.

Coming back home after a big fight? Wear a pair of opal earrings to clear the foggy communication from your crown chakra. Or even better… gift a tumbled white opal or white opal ring to your lover as a peace offering!

white opal cabochons parcel

White Opal Price

Are white opals valuable? Yes and no. The white opal price per carat varies greatly. If your white opal is low-quality, it can cost as low as $10 per carat; whereas if it’s high-quality, it can fetch $6,000 per carat. 

That’s a lot of money for a stone — why is white opal so expensive? The expensive ones show the most play-of-color and are closer to transparent than opaque.

Color and transparency play a role when it comes to price. Generally, cloudy-white opals signify lower quality, while translucent to transparent opals are worth more. 

Intensity, weight, and brilliance also drive white opal prices higher, while cracks and fractures lower the value. For example, if two opals look exactly the same in color and clarity, the heavier one (the one with more carats) is more valuable.

The low price for opaque, milky white opals might be due to their abundance, as they’re quite common and easily found. Plus, white opals tend to reflect less intense color than other opals.

Keep in mind though, the low value attributed to opacity doesn’t apply to all opals, as black opals fetch higher prices the more opaque they are.

white opal doublet pendant

White Opal Jewelry Care

With their relatively low Mohs ranking, white opals are delicate stones that you must protect! If you’re careless, they’ll lose their beautiful reflections and play-of-color, and you’ll notice scratches and nicks along the body. 

Clean your white opals with a soft brush and warm, soapy water. If you have a doublet or triplet, use a soft cloth instead of a brush and don’t let them get wet. Make sure you also keep your opals away from intense heat or sudden temperature changes to prevent damage.

Embellish Your Look with White Opals!

Now that you know all there is to know about white opals, you’re ready to shop and find some beautiful white opal stones to heal with or wear as jewelry! Whether it’s a white opal ring or white opal earrings, you're sure to find some great pieces to match your personality and style. 

Check out our white opal stones for sale!

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