Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Opal

Opal is the name of an iridescent gemstone which is classified as a mineraloid (as are Ambers and Pearls). Most etymologists seem to agree that the word “opal” was ultimately borrowed from the Sanskrit “úpala” (उपल) meaning “precious stone, jewel”. The opal is the gemstone of October which contains the astrological signs of Libra and Scorpio. The color spectrum of the opal contains all the colors of the rainbow and its iridescent quality showcases its wavelengths of light. Valued highly among almost all ancient civilizations, opals became ornaments of good luck and symbols of hope by the Middle Ages. Hairpieces made of opal were also worn by blondes to ensure the longevity of their hair color. Unfortunately opals got a bad rap in the early 19th century thanks to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott's novel “Anne of Geierstein” (1829). In the book, Lady Hermione wears a dazzling opal jewel in her hair. When a few drops of holy water come into contact with her gemstone, the opal’s sparkle dulls and Lady Hermione promptly dies, disintegrating into a heap of ashes in her bedchamber. Readers became convinced that the opal was an emblem of bad luck (the cause of her death); so much so that opal sales in Europe immediately dropped by an astounding 50%! After recovering from this bit of bad luck, the opal eventually went on to become one of the so-called gemstone names which were fashionable at the end of the 19th century (Opal, Pearl, Ruby). Although Pearl and Ruby are currently seeing a revival in the 21st century, Opal is not.

All About the Baby Name – Opal

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME OPAL

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME OPAL

As a female personal name in America, Opal started to take on a life of her own at the end of the 19th century and by 1904 she was a Top 100 favorite. Pearl and Ruby were much more common, but Opal was sparkling on the charts just fine herself. The name dropped of the U.S. Top 100 list in 1920 and would experience a slow and steady decline from there. By the 1950s, Opal’s declining usage became much more evident and 1960 marks the last year old Opal can claim Top 1000 status. Rare and unusually today, Opal is a name given to only about 100 baby girls per year (out of close to two million). Jade, Ruby, Amber and Pearl are all more favored (even Crystal and Diamond are more common today). Her luster has faded, but her uniqueness survives. Plus it’s one of the few “O” names commonly available for baby girls. Olivia, Olive, Ophelia, Olga, Oprah… Opal holds her own against these other gals if you ask us!

Quick Facts

ON OPAL

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

N/A

PRONUNCIATION:

O-pәl

SIMPLE MEANING:

Jewel

Characteristics

OF OPAL

Authoritative

Powerful

Tough

Tenacious

Wealthy

Problem-solver

Achiever

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Opal

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME OPAL

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Opal

Popular Songs

ON OPAL

Opal's Blues
a song by The Be Good Tanyas

Opal
a song by Dave Stamey

Opal, You Asked Me
a song by Tommy Collins

Famous People

NAMED OPAL

Opal Hill (golfer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED OPAL

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Opal

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME OPAL

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Opal