In the middle ages opal was considered good luck; it was thought the various colours represented the virtues of other gemstones. To the Romans, it was considered to be a token of hope and purity. It was also referred to as the “Cupid Stone” because it suggested the clear complexion of the god of love.
A novel published in 1829 by Sir Walter Scott entitled "Anne of Geierstein," was to change people's perception of opal. In the novel it is worn as a talisman - with supernatural powers - by the Baroness of Arnheim. However, when holy water comes in contact with the opal, it becomes colourless and the Baroness dies soon thereafter.
Regardless of the connotations applied to opal, there's no denying it's one of the most fascinating and beautiful stones in the world.
Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word "Turmali" and roughly translates to 'stone with mixed colours'. Due to the wide variety of colours available it is known as 'the gemstone of the rainbow'. Tourmaline is the gemstone of love and of friendship, and is said to render them firm and long-lasting.
The ability of this stone to look like other gemstones has been known to cause some confusion. Many gemstones in the Russian Crown jewels from the 17th Century once thought to be rubies are in fact tourmalines. In South America, where the majority of such gem-quality material is found, green tourmaline is still referred to as the "Brazilian emerald".
Here's a round-up of the exquisite tourmaline and opal jewellery offered by Grays dealers...
|Opal & diamond pendant/brooch, c1900. Offered by Boris Sosna t/a C & B Gems & Antique Jewellery|
|Art Deco green tourmaline & diamond ring, offered by DB Gems|
|Edwardian opal brooch, offered by Satoe|
|Pink tourmaline ring, c1960. Offered by Nigel Norman|
|Levinger & Bissinger. A Jugendstil, silver plique-a-jour pendant, offered by Van Den Bosch|
|18 carat Tourmaline ring, c1900s. Offered by Alfred Toro|
|Opal and diamond pendant, set in platinum, c1920. Offered by Westminster Group|