The name "opal" comes from the Latin term "Opalus." It means the essence of all gems gathered into a single stone. Because it seems to contain the colors of all the other gems, the Romans referred to it as the "Queen" of gems. To that ancient civilization, the opal was a symbol of purity and hope. They viewed it as a gift from the gods and saw the flickering color as the bolts of lightning that brought it down to earth. They saw it as Nature's fireworks, displayed in miniature by the shimmering colors in the stone. This fanciful interplay of colors is the trademark of the opal.