Symbol of Regency

on . Posted in Famous Opal Lovers


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.

On New Year's Day 1584, the Queen was delighted to receive a splendid set of matching opal jewellery from one of her favourite courtiers, Sir Christopher Hatton. In gratitude for this she arranged for the palace of Ely, near Holborn, to be let to him at a token rent by the Bishops of Ely. Incidentally the area today is known as Hatton Garden and has been London's jewelry quarter since the 1870's.

The English Queen used precious gems as objects of diplomacy, in her public appearances she would be seen bedecked with pearls and stones giving an overpowering impression of opulence and regal dignity. During the reign of Elizabeth it was written: 

Optallio is called Oppalus also, and this stone bredeth in Inde and is deemed to have as many virtues as hiews and colors.

Loyalty & Heroism


Sir Francis Drake (1543-1596) is considered the most famous of the heroes and navigators of Britain’s illustrious maritime history. The first Englishman to sail around the world, he fought the Spanish on numerous occasions defeating the Armada in 1588.

Queen Elizabeth I conferred a knighthood on him, decreeing his ship the Golden Hind a national monument. As a token of her thanks, around 1579, the QueenOpal-sun-jewel gave Sir Drake an Opal and ruby hatpin as a memento for the jewels he purloined for her on the Spanish main.

The 'Sun Jewel' was worn by Sir Francis Drake on his hat. It has at its centre a ruby engraved with an intaglio orb, surrounded by Opals within a diamond and Opal border. This is framed by straight and curved rays alternately enameled red and set with rubies. On the back of the jewel is a miniature of Elizabeth I of England. The orb, which is emblematic of sovereignty, may allude to Elizabeth, or to Drake’s historic circumnavigation of the world.


bevilgrenvillebevil_grenville_jewelSir Bevil Grenville (1596–1643), Royalist soldier in the English Civil War. Grandson of Sir Richard Grenville, Elizabethan sailor, explorer, and soldier. Educated at Oxford, Bevil was a Member of Parliament, and the most generally loved man in Cornwall.

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica: "Grenville was the type of all that was best in royalism. He was neither rapacious, drunken nor dissolute, but his loyalty was unselfish, his life pure and his skill no less than his bravery unquestionable." He valiantly led the Cornish infantry to victory at Stratton but fell at Lansdown, near Bath. His soldiers refused to fight under any other leader and returned home, carrying the body of Sir Bevil which was buried in a tomb in Kilkhampton Church.

The 'Grenville' Jewel which bore his portrait is one of few existant pieces of the period. It is important as it demonstrates that the English, who set the fashions in the 16th century, were indeed fond and avid users of Opal in the formal ceremonial style jewellery of the day.


Sue-White opals29 June 2013
Dear Rainbow Serpent,
Thank you for your email and membership.
It is great to know that you are out there promoting Australia's National gemstone & NSW emblem.
Keep up the good work, I love your concept.
Sue White - Orana Glitz & Glamour Extravaganza Inc Assn.

15 march 2013
Hi Peter,
Colourful characters are key,
your Facebook page and the photos look like there are some fantastic people!
We loved the look of Tarzan of Opalton.
Gemma Brady - Boundless

Alexander fink.PhysicsPHD opal28 Nov 2012
I would like to welcome your information page on opal,
with detailed information about nearly everything their is to know in a general term.
Alexander Fink PhD - Dept. of Physics La Trobe University

5 August 2010
Hi from another opal lover.
Just wanted to say I love your site, a wealth of information.
I always send people to your page for opal info.
Kind Regards
Sean Tapner - Planet Opal

8 july 2010
Dear Rainbow Serpent,
Will be recommending your website as a primary reference to 15 Macquarie Uni media students who will be doing a PR project for us as part of their assessment soon.
Best wishes
Renata - Opalminded

Opalminded recommend opalsinformation6 June 2010
Dear Rainbow Serpent, 
Greetings from Opal Minded In Sydney.
We are all very impressed with your website – one of the best things that has happened to this Industry for a long time. 
We would love to share it with the visitors to our website. 
Would you mind If we post with us links to your website, 
also on our facebook and twitter. 
Best wishes
Renata, John, Nelly, Fabrice and Summer

Fri, Apr 16, 2010 
Good Morning,
I have just found your wonderful website.
I produce a monthly e-newsletter which is circulated to the Tourism businesses in Coober Pedy and neighbouring stations plus the Info Centres around SA & the NT.
I wondered if I could use some of your Opal info in my October Edition (Opal Month), mainly the parts in your “About Opal” section – names, spiritual info etc.
I would obviously reference it to your website noting the address so others could read your site. 
Sandra Harris
Tourism Officer - Coober Pedy Information Centre

5 April 2010
I am wanting to use your site in an assignment as it is a superb example
of a site to use for a primary teaching unit on gemstones.
Many thanks,