Opals, the birthstone for the month of October, have a mystery and history as interesting as their iridescence. Whether you were born in October or not, test your knowledge of opals with the Empire Jewelers true or false quiz! Scroll down for the answers—but don’t cheat!

  1. The opal is an ancient mineral known as petrified silica gel that is found near the earth’s surface where geothermal hot springs once existed.
  2. Many opals contain a rainbow-like iridescence known as “opalocka,” which changes the colors that appear in the stone depending on the angle it’s viewed.
  3. Opalescence is caused by a hydrous silicon dioxide material that causes the gemstone to flash iridescent colors when the opal is viewed from different angles.
  4. The subcategory of opals, known as precious opals, is the most common and in-demand because of their “opulence.”
  5. The word opal is derived from the Latin word “opalus,” meaning precious jewel, as well as “upala,” the Sanskrit name for precious stone.
  6. Opals are given to celebrate a 13th wedding anniversary, and are a symbol faithfulness and confidence.
  7. The ancient Romans called the opal “Cupid Paederos,” which translates to “a child beautiful as a heart.”
  8. In ancient Rome, opals were ground up and consumed because they were believed to have healing properties and the power to ward off bad dreams.
  9. The Great Bard, Shakespeare, loved opals so much, he nicknamed them the “queen of the gems.”
  10. The opal is Australia’s national gemstone, and its indigenous people call opals “the water in the desert.”
  11. Goober Pedy, Australia is known as “The Opal Capital of the World” because 51 percent of the world’s supply of opals is mined there.
  12. In 2008, NASA discovered opal deposits on Mars! Since opal is made up of mostly water, Mars may have contained water for billions of years.

October Birthstone True or False Answers:

  1. True.
  2. False. The rainbow-like effect in opals is called opalescence.
  3. True.
  4. False. Precious opals are the most in demand because of their “opalescence” or “play of color.”
  5. True.
  6. False. Opals are given to celebrate a 14th wedding anniversary, and are a symbol of faithfulness and confidence.
  7. False. “Cupid Paederos” translates to “a child beautiful as love.”
  8. True.
  9. True.
  10. False. The indigenous people of Australia call the opal “the fire in the desert.”
  11. False. The name of the city is actually Coober Pedy, Australia.
  12. True.