Due to its exceptionality Opal has always been well represented in private collections around the globe.
The mysterious 'Queen of Gemstones' is synonymous with graceful power, beauty and rarity.
The Romans were great lovers of Opal and regarded the gems as good luck pieces. Many Roman generals carried Opal-tipped staves to their campaigns to bring them victory. A Roman woman considered herself fortunate if she possessed an Opal which was prized above all other gems.
Romans referered to Opal as the Cupid Stone which they believed instilled purity and hope.
Opals became a sine qua non of royal and aristocratic dress in Renaissance England. Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) and indeed members of the Elizabethan nobility, wore lavish parures of Opal.
Louis XVI (1754-1793) wore an Opal finger-ring befitting the illustriously luxuriant Court he held with his Queen at Versailles. Indeed Marie Antoinette owned a famous flame Opal known as the 'Forest Fire'. The effulgence of Versailles had spread all over Europe during the second half of the seventeenth century, by the eighteenth century Paris dictated the fashions and French jewellers became ever more influential.
Fine Taste & Good Fortune: The Hallmarks of Remarkable Individuals
Sir Thomas Brassey (1836-1918), 1st Earl Brassey, was the son of a self-made millionaire, who had a passionate love for the sea and cruised on his intercontinental yacht, ‘The Sunbeam’, as often as he could.