Posted by: Moira Drexler | October 5, 2010

Wearing opal is not unlucky.

Why do some people say that opal is unlucky?


Boulder opal and tourmaline bracelet at Australiss


Firstly, wearing an opal is not unlucky.  In my research over the years, I have found three possible reasons for why this dreadful rumour spread.


Wood, sterling silver and opal pendant at Australiss


When the opal was discovered in Australia in 1840, everyone was suddenly interested and fascinated with this new stone.  The colours were magical and couldn’t be compared to anything else.  Because Australia was part of the British Empire, European countries, especially France thought that all this enthusiasm for this new stone may harm the jewellery industry.  To avoid the possible downturn of gem sales from France to the rest of the world they started a rumour that the opal brought bad luck.

There is also the story involving the French royal family.  Louis XI commissioned an opal piece to be made with an exquisite opal.  Because opal was seldom used, jewellers did not have the experience to cut and set the stone and as opal is rather delicate and tricky the jeweller had a terrible accident and accidentally broke it  Louis XI must have been a brute because he ordered that the jeweller’s hands be amputated…..and they were!


Belemnite pendant at Australiss....a fossilized octopus leg!


Another theory of how the opal got its bad reputation was because of Sir Walter Scott.  His bestseller titled ‘Anne of Geierstein’, or ‘The Maiden of the Mist (1829), was about a lady possessed by a demon.  In Scott’s story, when holy water lands on her opal ring it changes the colour of the opal.  Apparently within months of the book being released, the opal market suddenly crashed and prices were down by half of their previous value.

Thanks to Queen Victoria, the opal started to become loved again.  Victoria was brave and wise enough to ignore ignorant rumours.  That is why we still find lovely Victorian pieces set with opals.


Victorian items for sale at Australiss


We stock a beautiful selection of Antique opal jewellery at Kellies Antiques, Brisbane, Australia and gorgeous comtempory opal jewellery at Australiss in Erlangen, Germany.



  1. Thank you for the information about opals. Lucky for the opal industry, not everyone is superstitious.

    • I am glad you enjoyed the article. Since I have left Australian shores, I have been more enthusiastic for opal. I never ever believed they were unlucky and from experience the rumour never really hit Germany. Whem you speak to people here about it, they do not know the story. My Mother wore won out of the blue and was in a car accident. She took it off immediately……………

  2. I never heard that opals were unlucky–the rumour must not have reached the USA. Good, because I love opals.

    • i see that you are an experienced blogger. I will have to get some tips!

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