In this post, we will go over the facts of this brilliant stone and its meaning in the metaphysical sense. I will also talk about its benefits to the mind, body, and soul, how to use it, and the proper ways to cleanse Ethiopian opal. Let’s start.
Ethiopian Opal Meaning
Strictly speaking, Ethiopian opals are the opals found in two major locations of the said nation: North Shewa and Wollo provinces. Although there may be other places besides these two where opal of this variety can be found, they are the major sources of opal in the country, especially Wollo.
Like many subvariants of a particular crystal or stone, Ethiopian opal is named after the country of its origin. Meanwhile, the origin of the word “opal” is disputed. Some say that it has its roots in the Sanskrit word úpala, meaning “precious stone.” Others insist that it’s from the Greek word opallios, which is related to “seeing” and “others.”
However, another factor sets Ethiopian opals apart from their relatives found in other major opal production sites like Australia and Mexico.
Ethiopian Opal Geological Properties
Ethiopian opals are mainly hydrophane in nature. Instead of being formed underground when silica-rich water evaporates, leaving opal in cracks and voids, hydrophane opals form in nodules in stratified igneous rocks due to volcanic activity. Rather than sedimentary rocks, volcanic ash has played a more critical role in creating the hydrophane Ethiopian opals.
Hydrophane opals are extremely porous, which means they absorb much more water than other types of opals which are mostly sedimentary. When a hydrophane opal is submerged under water, they become almost transparent, and when taken out, they assume a milky color. It will take some time before the opal resumes its former appearance.
Hydrophane Ethiopian opal is famous for its striking play of color. It can be found in many hues, with some undergoing a kind of treatment like dyeing, smoking, or soaking it in sugar and acid. However, Ethiopian opals that have been treated are less expensive than opals with naturally beautiful colors.
Ethiopian Opal History: Where is Ethiopian opal found?
Ethiopian opals are mined in three major locations: Menz Gishe District, Shewa Province, found in 1994; Wegel Tena, Wollo Province, discovered in 2008; and the most recent one in 2013, still in Wollo Province but 100 kilometers away from the second discovered mine.
Even though Shewa opals has been in the market for more than a decade before the Wollo Province deposit was discovered, the latter proved to be more popular because of the quality it produces. Shewa opals are more prone to crazing, whereas an Ethiopian Welo opal is more resistant to it. They are also more durable that they can withstand being dropped up to four feet.
Its durability and vivid play of colors made Ethiopian Welo opals sought-after in the gem and jewelry market. The mines in Wollo Province produce some of the finest quality opal in the world, competing with Australian opal. Australia is considered as the opal capital in the world, but with the rising popularity of Ethiopian opals, they are considered the second main producer of the said stone.
Ethiopian opals are also less expensive and rarer than Australian opals.
Ethiopian Opal Meaning and History
While Ethiopian opals are only said to have been discovered some decades ago, opals have been mentioned in many historical documents and legends since the ancient times.
There are a significant number of myths and stories relating to opal. One of the more popular legends is that the Queen of Sheba, a Biblical figure who is said to have come from present-day Ethiopia, adorned herself with opal during her visit to Queen Solomon.
Another known legend about opal concerns Nonius, a senator from Ancient Rome who had an opal so beautiful that Mark Anthony wanted to have it. The opal was supposed to be his gift for Queen Cleopatra, however, Nonius declined to sell it. When threatened with death, Nonius decided to exile himself rather than give it away.
All throughout history, opal has also been the subject of many strange superstitions. Once thought to be a lucky stone, it became a symbol of death. It didn’t help that opal was featured in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Anne of Geierstein, wherein the opal hairclip one of the characters wore was cursed.
More legends of bad luck surrounding opal persisted. Another story involved a real monarch, King Alfonso XII of Spain, whose wife died after being given an opal ring. He also soon died hereafter. Everyone who owned the ring in the family died in mysterious circumstances. It might help to know that the opal ring was presented to him first by a countess, so the opal probably didn’t have a hand in their demise, if there was any truth to the curse.
However, for all the “bad luck and curse” that opals have brought to their owners in these stories, they have continued to enjoy popularity time and again.
Other less ominous but still intriguing legends about opal are that it is said to possess supernatural powers. It’s believed by some to make its wearer invisible. The Arabs even believe that opals come from the sky and are brought by thunder. People from the East calls it the “anchor stone of hope.”
Even today, opal is still revered and admired by many for its ethereal beauty. Ethiopian opal gemstone in particular is steadily becoming more popular because of its majestic color play, which is quite unlike other opal varieties. More importantly, perhaps, is that a stunning Ethiopian opal is more affordable, which also makes it more accessible to many people who want opals themselves.
What does opal mean spiritually?
Opal holds many meanings and is believed to provide a host of benefits to its owner, contrary to the belief it’s unlucky.
As I’ve already mentioned, opals are believed to help their owners become invisible. It’s also said to give psychic abilities, including clairvoyance.
Spiritually, opal has a different meaning.
It’s believed to help one bring their deepest thoughts and feelings to the surface, even those that they were either unaware of or denying existence. If you choose to hide a painful past or emotion behind a veil, opal will help you confront those feelings to free you from suffering and the clutches of the past. It’s a stone of self-reflection.
It fills one’s heart with hope and enthusiasm, much like how it allows light and color inside it. Once you have the strength and confidence to deal with your difficult feelings, opal will bring you to light and uplift your spirit.
Opal can also magnify emotions, so be careful when handling it. Although it could help purify dark thoughts, it’s best to use it alongside other stones so instead of amplifying negativity it could increase positive energy.
Ethiopian Opal Uses and Benefits
Because of its iridescent and incredible appearance, Ethiopian opal is used in many ways. The most popular is Ethiopian opal jewelry, including necklaces, rings, pendants, bracelets, and more. It’s also a common inclusion in accessories like brooches, hair clips, and combs. Some also use it as home and office decor, but not so much. Its beauty is meant to be seen by everyone, anyway.
Another reason for the popularity of Ethiopian opal is its healing and metaphysical powers. Many people purchase opals because of it, and even traders in the opal industry mention its purported abilities because many people believe it, with some even professing that its powers are true.
Crystal Health Disclaimer
While crystals have been used throughout time to heal medical and emotional ailments, the information in this blog is not to be taken as medical advice. Additionally, you should always follow the advice of medical professionals per their diagnoses. Crystal healing should only be seen as supplemental.
Ethiopian Opal Physical Benefits
Ethiopian opals have a myriad of healing benefits for the body. Some of them are the following:
Ethiopian Opal Emotional Benefits
Ethiopian Welo opal is also greatly beneficial to a person’s mental and psychological well-being. Below are some of the benefits you may enjoy by having an Ethiopian opal around:
Ethiopian Opal Metaphysical Properties
Ethiopian opals have been well-known throughout history for its metaphysical abilities. Opal enthusiasts have said to experience the following benefits when using this stone:
Ethiopian Opal Meditation and Grounding
If you choose to meditate with Ethiopian opal, do note that it’s a high vibration stone. They have the ability to raise your consciousness, but if you are new to working with crystals it could potentially overwhelm you. Therefore, it’s recommended to work with them carefully or use a grounding crystal to balance energies. More on this later.
To meditate with an Ethiopian opal, you can either wear it or place it on the grid. Ask permission from the crystal that you will use its powers. Don’t forget to thank the crystal and then charge it after using.
Ethiopian Opal Chakras
Ethiopian opal could be used to connect the crown chakra to the root chakra. As such, it could potentially open other chakras as well. Besides the seven major chakras, it also opens up three others, including the soma, alta major, and higher heart.
Types of Ethiopian Opal
Ethiopian opals also have their own subtypes. The major variants of Ethiopian opal are the following:
Precious opals are types of opals with vivid play-of-color. They are more expensive and rarer than common opals.
Fire opals refer to opals with yellowish to the reddish body color.
Precious Fire Opal
Precious fire opals are opals with yellow to the orange body with a vibrant play of color. They are commonly found in Ethiopia.
White Precious Opal
White precious opals have white body color, with an almost rainbow-like play of color.
Black opals have a very dark body color. Do note that some traders use smoke treatment to deepen the shade of opals to make them appear black. However, true black opals are rarer.
Shewa or Mezezo opals refer to the types of opals mined in the Shewa Province, Ethiopia. They are less durable than Wello opals and are prone to crazing.
Welo opal, also called Wollo or Wello, are the opals mined in Wello Province. Wello opals have a wide variety of colors, most commonly orange, yellow, or red.
Honeycomb Welo Opal
Honeycomb Welo opals are yellow, yellow-orange, or orange opals with a honeycomb-like pattern. They are very rare and expensive.
Ethiopian opals could also exhibit different effects, depending on their color flash. For instance:
White is usually related to spirituality and past life. It helps you deal with the trauma of the past and live your present life fully.
Orange or Yellow
Orange or yellow is associated with creativity and confidence.
Purple, Pink, or Magenta
Purple, Pink, or Magenta is associated with spiritual transformation and purification.
Red is related to Kundalini awakening.
Brown is associated with changing negative patterns.
Green is associated with astral travel and facilitates a connection with the higher realms.
Spectrum, or rainbow, is associated with helping the soul transform and achieve spiritual awakening.
Ethiopian Opal Crystal Combinations
Ethiopian opal can be combined with other crystals to enhance its powers or to balance it out. Some of the best ones to pair with Ethiopian opal are the following:
Diamonds have the power to balance opal’s energy and also brings about mental clarity. It could also help with creativity, abundance, and finding your purpose in life.
Sapphires also help with accessing past life memories. It can also aid you in remembering dreams and interpreting its meaning.
Serpentine help with chakra alignment and Kundalini activation.
Snakeskin agate helps bring balance, calm, and inner peace. It also aids you in grounding in the present moment.
Prehnite facilitates a connection with the spiritual realm and accessing the Akashic records.
Yellow apatite clears the mind and aids the creativity.
Tiger’s Eye promotes bravery and willpower. It also helps you get in tune with your psychic ability and intuition.
Red Jasper is a healing stone that can help the mind and body. Moreover, it’s also a stone that can help with dream recall and shield you against negative entities.
Cavansite helps in soothing the mind and promoting clear communication.
Afghanite is one of the best stones to use for spiritual development. It also aids you in accessing the Akashic records.
Orange calcite promotes creativity and facilitates connection with the higher consciousness.
Ethiopian opal can be paired with other types of opals. Pairing it with other opals could enhance its abilities.
Black Tourmaline clears the mind and helps in grounding the individual. It is best to pair it during meditation sessions in case you are overwhelmed with its energy.
Charging and Cleansing
Like all crystals, Ethiopian opal accumulates a lot of energy, so it’s best to cleanse them regularly. However, extra care is needed when cleansing or charging them because it’s relatively soft, with a Mohs hardness scale level of only about 5.5 to 6.
Additionally, due to their special geological properties, common cleansing methods like placing them under running water for a long time may not be a good idea. If you do wash it using water, don’t put it in the water for a long time, and only use a mild detergent.
As with most crystals, avoid subjecting the opal to chemicals, including everyday products like hair dye, oil, and lotion. If you are wearing Ethiopian opal jewelry, avoid swimming with it, too. Remove the stone when you go for a deep dive or when taking a shower. When washing your hands, it’s generally safe to wear it, but due to handwash or soap, it might be best to remove it for a while. Don’t place it in salty water, too.
Although Ethiopian opals are more durable because of their hydrophane properties, water, and smoke could still alter their appearance. To avoid cracking, place your opal on cotton wool with a bit of water. Put it in a safe place away from sudden temperature and humidity changes.
Other generally safe cleansing methods include:
Again, avoid subjecting the opal to any of the cleansing methods for a very long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ethiopian Opal vs. Australian Opal
Ethiopian opals and Australian opals generally differ in three aspects: variety, price, and rarity. The former are usually rarer and have more variety, but are less expensive than the latter.
Are Ethiopian opals good quality?
Yes! In fact, some of the best opals in the market are Ethiopian opals. Despite being rarer, they are less expensive than Australian opal and perhaps other varieties.
Why is Ethiopian opal cheaper?
The affordability of Ethiopian opals all comes down to supply: more Ethiopian opals are available, and the mines are steadily supplying them. Another reason is that Ethiopian opals are sold cheaper because the producers are competing in a market where Australian opals dominate.
Curses, ill omens, and bad luck–these are the things that surround the mysterious opal for ages, and Ethiopian opals are no exception to these unkind rumors. However, the truth could be far from what the superstition is saying about it. Ethiopian opal is by far one of the most beautiful types of opals in the world. Its beauty is almost unbelievable, as it seems to sport all kinds of colors in it, like the rainbow in the boundless sky.
More than its striking beauty is its ability to bring hope and foster truth to anyone brave enough to hold it in their possession. True enough, Ethiopian opals aren’t the harbingers of misfortune. Rather, they are the messengers of higher dimensions, always ready to help us in the mortal realm achieve spiritual transformation and soul purification.