Opal: Friend or Foe?Superstition: Valid or a bunch of hog-wash?Lets begin with what spurred on my continuing battle with ridiculous superstitions. Discussing rings of a particular nature with a friend of mine over tea and Pinterest, the subject of opals came up. This “Friend” was contemplating the thought of an opal ring and expressed not only the appropriateness of such a choice, but also the non-lethal-ness of it. Being born in October it is quite acceptable for her to be wearing opals. Should I on the other hand wear opals, it could amount to certain death (what are the chances?). When I suggested wearing my grandmother's amethyst and opal ring the room went cold and the candles were extinguished by a wind that seemed to come from nowhere. Friend warned me against wearing said ring as I wasn't born in October. Neither was my grandmother. She lived in peignoirs and on cups of tea until she was in her mid 80s.
Opals have had a spotty history. Even though thought to be magical, and a symbol of good fortune to ancient civilizations the world over, the opal can't shake its equally sinister past. With links to The Plague, the fall of monarchies and witchcraft, the opal can't catch a break - Well actually it can - Being one of the most fragile gemstones and heat sensitive to boot, opals are highly sensitive. These geological traits make the tales of stones being set in jewellery (ie: engagement rings) then mysteriously breaking, more scientific than superstitious. It wasn't a “sign” it was shoddy craftsmanship.
The UK is filthy with the superstitious, and thus played a healthy role in the defamation of the fiery gemstone. To quote myself by way of an excerpt from one of my pre-blog blogs:
I walked under a ladder right in front of Sunz the other day just to freak her out, and to illustrate a point. The point being I survived. We figured that the bad luck I should be expecting will probably be her death, as she almost got hit by 3 cars while we were walking around that day. Which brings me to the whole superstitious UK thing. I have found out why folks are terrified of stepping over 3 drain hole covers in a row (yes it's because they're idiots, but that's not the only reason) Apparently it’s not just general bad luck they’re destined to receive. It’s a specific area of life that will be crippled with bad luck. The Moronic English (remember, I am one of them) believe that they’ll suffer in the sack if they walk across these consecutive bits of city planning. For crying out loud. It’s not the pavement. It’s British genetics.
Speaking of Great Britain and stupid old wives tales - It was writer Sir Walter Scott who wrote Anne of Geuerstein, an elaborate story culminating in tragedy, all because of an opal worn in the heroines hair. A hugely popular story in the 1800s, which equalled a huge drop in opal mining, production and distribution. Silly superstitious Brits. Queen Victoria reigned at roughly the same time as the aforementioned story was popular. She regarded the stories as foolish. She deliberately gave her daughters opals as wedding gifts. They did not suffer any untimely or particularly gruesome fates. Queen Victoria was of course, sensible. . . . and half German.
Speaking of Aryans - In the middle ages, to combat the negative folklore behind opals, blonde girls in both Germany and Scandinavia were told that if they wore an opal in their hair it would encourage its brightening and stave off darkening. As a bonus, it had the added benefit of turning them invisible not to mention protecting them from the harsh Nordic elements.
Based on my flaxen vanity, plus the fact that it's one of maybe three things I have that belonged to my grandmother, and as I don't plan on wearing an Edwardian chair, I will continue to wear the opal ring.