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Opal Optics, One Of The Twelve Stones Of Aaron's Breastplate.

Updated on December 5, 2012

The national gemstone of Australia is the glittery Opal. It is the gift of the 14th anniversary and the birthstone belonging to the month of October. This iridescent mineral of hydrous silicon oxide is mined across the world. Here in the US, you will find varieties among the states of Oregon, Nevada, Louisiana and Idaho. But this gem has also buried itself in Mexico, Nicaragua, Hungry, Japan, Ireland and Brazil.

The Opal represents hope, purity and a good luck charm in the earliest recordings of history. But during the 19th century, this delicate stone lost its luster when the black plague descended upon Europe. It was witnessed that people who were sick and wearing the stone, the opal shone bright, but would lose it opulence when the wearer died. Today we understand this is because the elevated body temperature during sickness reacts with the stone by heating and raising its radiance and of course loses its luster when the heat subsides as in death.

As jewelers worked with the precious stone, they found it difficult because of its frail nature of being a soft stone and filled with up to 10% water. The jewelry makers thought it a cursed rock. This dark shadow continued to cloak the Opal with Sir Walters Scott’s literary work entitled, “Anne Of Geuerstein”. The heroine of this novel died and readers interpret the opal ring she wore as the culprit. During this dark time, many believed the opal was the devil hiding in the ground with its destructive flashes of wicked magic.

Black Opal
Black Opal | Source

However, in 1877, a black opal mine was discovered in South Wales. The Queen of England was so enthralled with the new gem that she immediately began wearing them and giving as gifts, restoring the faith in the opal. Though the opal most common is the white to pink body with rainbow colors fracturing throughout, it is the black opal that removed the dark cloak and all colors of opal have been popular ever since.

In the breastplate of Aaron, recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible, jacinth or lighure is one of the precious 12 stones. The study of jacinth is remarkably scant. Sometimes it refers to color of reddish orange and other times it is referred to as a zircon stone the color of red purple like the hyacinth blooms. Lighure is recorded as a stone that held the fire and was commonly orange and red colored gem. But both these stones are not in existence today and many scholars debate over what the Breastplate stone was, but some have concluded that it was Opal which can be found both orange/red and deep red/blue. And if it was not opal, the colors found in opal could match the biblical descriptions quite well.

In the ancient times, Romans believed the opal to be a sign of purity and hope, while the Greeks viewed the stone as containing powerful foresight and prophecy. In Asia, the stone is sacred. Arabians believed the opals fell out of heaven and Australians believed that there was a giant opal that governed the stars and guided love. Some people believed the stone made one invisible and in religious times, the gem became the representation of emotional prayers.

The uniqueness of the opal is the flash of fiery rainbow colors against the body of one mundane color. The typical body colors of opal are white, grey, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, olive, brown and black. The radiant colors are known as black, white, water, crystal and fire.

In the Chakra, the opal stands outs as an amplifier for enlightenment and intuition used in the crown chakra. Various colors can be used for all types of chakra healing; red for bleeding, inflammation, and removing anger, yellow for bilious disorders and the liver, green for eye diseases, blue for calming dark spirits and aiding in self esteem and confidence, violet for the pituitary gland and central nervous system and multi-color for maintaining balance, harmony and spiritual well being.

With opal leaving a trail of love, hope and prosperity through the backwoods of time, it is no wonder the Romans called it “Cupid Paederos”, meaning “a child beautiful as love”. The opal, a stone worthy of taking its spot on the breastplate of Aaron.


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