History & Lore
The Roman "Cupid Stone"
The early Romans referred to opals as the “Cupid stone” because it suggested the clear complexion of the god of love. Romans thought opals had aphrodisiacal qualities and the capability of bringing great wealth to its owner.
The Romans considered opals be a token of hope and purity. According to legend, one Roman Emperor offered to trade one-third of his vast kingdom for a single opal.
An opal was said to be set in the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. In medieval times, opals were known as "ophthalmus lapis." Albertus Magnus describes it as follows:
"The orphanus is a stone which is in the crown of the Roman Emperor, and none like it has ever been seen; for this very reason it is called orphanus. It is of a subtle vinous tinge, and its hue is as though pure white snow flashed and sparkled with the color of bright, ruddy win, and was overcome by this radiance. It is a translucent stone, and there is a tradition that formerly it shone in the night-time; but now, in our age, it does not sparkle in the dark. It is said to guard the regal honor". (Alberti Magni, Opera Omnia, ed. Borgnet, Parisiis, 1890.)
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