OH-pul Meaning: 'precious gem'; 'eye lotion'; 'bearer of change' Gender: Female or Male
Opal n. an amorphous form of hydrated silicon dioxide that can be of almost any colour. It may contain all the primary colours and many more tints and hues besides. It is used as a gemstone. [from Greek Opthalmios, ‘the eye stone’ or ‘eye lotion’; from Latin Opalus, Gk. Opallios ‘to see a change’, from Sanskrit Upala ‘precious stone’. Opal entered the english language as Opal around 1586] – Opaline adj.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
A myth from the Aborigines of Australia tells of the birth of Opal: “...the creator came down to Earth on a rainbow, with a message of peace to all the people. And at the very spot, where his foot touched the ground, the stones became alive and started sparkling in all the colours of the rainbow.”
Opal is the embodiment of ' THE SPIRIT OF THE CHILD' - To the ancient Greeks it was known as paederos, the derivation of this meant both 'child' and 'favourite' - inferring that it had the kind of peerless beauty of a child.
"VITZITZILTECPATL", the Aztec term for Opal meaning "the hummingbird stone", aptly refers to the likeness of the sheen and changing colours observed in the plumage of these enchanting birds.
"KALIMAYA" is the Indonesian name for Opal. Derived from the Sanskrit word 'maya' for illusion, and the Javanese 'kali' meaning river, this translates as "River of Illusion".
Gemstone names, such as Pearl or Ruby, became popular in the 19th century, but Opal was not one of the more fashionable of these names.
Opal has not appeared in the top 1000 baby names since 1960, when it ranked at number 920. Popularity dropped substantially in the 1950s, though popularity had been in decline for several decades.
The name Opal saw the height of its popularity in 1911, when it ranked at number 81.
Opal was occasionally used as a boy’s name in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but it was never as common for boys. In 1911, it ranked as number 885, but it has not appeared on the boy’s chart since then. Opal has maintained a bit more popularity in Australia. In 1997, it ranked at number 679. This is appropriate considering that Opal was proclaimed Australia's National Gemstone in 1993, and Australia is the world's main producer of Opal - 'An Opal hearted country'!
Other Gemstone names, such as Amber and Jet have increased in popularity in the late 20th century, Opal may yet experience a revival.
BIRTHSTONES & ZODIACS
Opal is the birthstone for the month of October and is associated with the zodiac signs Libra, Leo and Aquarius.
Just as Opals are thought to bring luck if worn by a person born in October or under these signs it may be an appropriate name for babies born therein.
- Opal, Virginia, USA
- Opal, Wyoming, USA
- Opal, Xinjiang, China
- The Opals: Nickname for the Australia Women’s National Basketball Team.
- Hurricane Opal: Category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico in 1995.
- Opal: Online Programming for All Libraries
- Opal Koboi: From the Artemis Fowl series of fictional novels by Eoin Colfer.
- Opal Fire: Album by musician Omar
- Opal Fish: Armored catfishes are found in Costa Rica, Panama and South America
- Opal Glass: opalescent glass with a blueish tinge due to the dffraction of light by its internal structure
- Opal Nero: Black Sambuca alcoholic spirits
- Opal Rose: Opal Guitar inlayed & handcrafted by hollingworth guitars Australia
- Opal Dream: Peter Cattaneo's movie, starring Vince Colosimo
- Opal Divine's restaurants bar & pub at3 Austin Texas locations www.opaldivines.com
- Opal: Lounge bar, DJ., 36 Gloucester Road, Kensington,www.opalbar.co.uk
- HMAS Opal c.1885
- Black Opal Stakes - Horse Racing Carnival, Canberra ACT
- Opal Anchel: Actress
- Opal Bush: Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleader
- Opal Hill: Professional Golfer
- Opalinska Catherine: Queen of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1680-1747)
- Opalinska Wanda: Plays Polish immigrant Wiki Dankowska on the BBC soap-opera "Coronation Street"
- 2 shots or 6cl Gin
- 1 shot or 3cl Orange Juice
- 1/2 shot or 1.5cl Triple Sec
-1/4 to 1/2 tsp Superfine Sugar
(Optional: 2 dashes Orange Bitters)
Glassware: Cocktail Glass
Sources & Image Credits:Idea adapted from: wiki.name.com/en/Opal
Fergusson, Rosalind. Choose Your Baby’s Name. London: Bloomsbury Books, 1987.
Wallace, Carol McD. The Greatest Baby Name Book Ever. New York: Avon Books, 1998. pp 594-595.
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