“’Tis that miracle and queen of gems –Shakespeare”, “Twelfth Night”
Opal has been known as a gemstone for thousands of years and has adorned monarchs, fascinated celebrities, and been collected by wealthy magnates throughout history. The original source is thought to be from the Hungarian mines at Dubnik, and, although this opal was of lighter and lesser quality, it still produced some excellent gemstones.
The word opal can be traced back to the Sanskrit word Upala, which means ‘jewel’, and the Roman word Opalus, which means ‘precious stone’. It first came into prominence during Roman times where it was known as a stone of passion and luck, and was one of the two most valuable gemstones in the empire besides emeralds. Soldiers would carry an opal with them into battle for good fortune and Emperors would give their wives opals to invoke desire.