The Opal


Ada and Eleanor Skinner

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Tonight, we’ll rebroadcast “The Opal”, a fairy tale about how the gemstone was formed. This story originally aired on December 7th, 2020.

Depending on the conditions in which it formed, precious opal may be iridescent with white, black, or nearly any color of the visual spectrum as a background color. Black opal is considered to be the rarest, whereas white, gray, and green are the most common.

Opal was rare and very valuable in antiquity. In Europe, it was a gem prized by royalty. Until the opening of vast deposits in Australia in the 19th century the only known source was beyond the Roman frontier in Slovakia.

Opal was also said to grant invisibility- if wrapped in a fresh bay leaf and held in the hand- and thus it was considered the gemstone of thieves.