Opal – Beyond the Thunderstone

The Dakota Stones line of opal strands include high end precious opals like Ethiopian Opal and Australian Opal, and common opals like Pink Opal, Yellow Opal, and White African Opal, just to name a few. Many cultures have credited opal with supernatural origins and powers. Arabic legends say it falls from the heavens in flashes of lightning. The ancient Greeks believed opals gave their owners the gift of prophecy and guarded them from disease. Europeans have long considered the gem a symbol of hope, purity, and truth.

The Bedouins, a nomadic people who live in the Arabian and Syrian deserts, called Opal “ceraunium” meaning “thunderstone” because they believed opals had lightning trapped inside and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. Black opals are exceptionally rare in that they are known to form in only one place: Australia. In fact, most of the opals found on the continent are from the town of Lightning Ridge.


Australian Black Opal is characterized by its dark base tone. It is mined under extremely harsh conditions and the high-grade specimens are rarer than diamonds. Australian Aboriginal tribes referred to Black Opal as "Fire of the Desert."

Boulder Opal is a golden-brown to dark brown stone, displaying these colors in patterns of parallel bands. It is considered a precious Opal, and forms within a host rock such as ironstone or sandstone. Boulder Opal is believed to help with spiritual development, as well as with reconciling conscious and unconscious thought.

Dakota Stones 8-inch strands of White African Opal are a white to cream to light tan stone with veining of black or gray. Like all Opals, it is a form of hydrated amorphous silica, however it does not exhibit the play of color seen in precious Opal. Common Opals such as White African Opal are believed to provide gentle, nurturing emotional support.


Ethiopian Opal was first discovered in Ethiopia in 1994, with additional major finds in 2008 and 2013. Beautiful specimens of Precious Opal, Fire Opal and Black Opal with spectacular play of color are now being found in these areas. Ethiopian Opal typically occurs in brown, red or orange body color, yet yellow, white and clear stones are also seen.


Pink Opal is a variety of non-precious opal, meaning that it has lustre and some translucency without the fire or color play associated with precious opal varieties. Pink Opal naturally occurs in shades of extremely pale to deeper pink.


Yellow Opal is transparent to opaque, milky white to pale yellow in color. It sometimes features dark brown to black dendritic inclusions that branch like tiny tree limbs through the stone. Unlike other forms of opal, Yellow Opal does not display the changeable flash of internal luster that other opals are known for. Historically Opal was renowned as the “Queen of Gems” for its desirability and beauty.