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"At once, Katie rose into the air... gracefully, her arms outstretched, as though she was about to fly. Yet there was something wrong, something eerie... Her hair whipped her by the fierce wind, but her eyes were closed and her face was quite empty of expression... Then, six feet above the ground, Katie let out a terrible scream. Her eyes flew open but whatever she could see, or whatever she was feeling, was clearly causing her terrible anguish."
— Effects of the opal necklace on Katie Bell[src]

The Opal Necklace[4] was a cursed Dark object, made of opals, that was, for a period of time, on sale at Borgin and Burkes. It was claimed to have taken the lives of nineteen different Muggles.[1] It was also used by Draco Malfoy in a failed attempt to assassinate Albus Dumbledore, that ended up cursing Katie Bell instead.[2]


"Do not Touch! Cursed. Has claimed the lives of nineteen Muggle owners to date."
— The warning label for the necklace's display.[src]

The necklace had fallen to the ownership of at least nineteen Muggles, all of whom died from the deadly curse placed onto it. It eventually came to Borgin and Burkes, where it was placed on display for selling. A warning sign was placed on the necklace's display.[1] It seemed this necklace's history was well known, as Minerva McGonagall was horrified the moment she saw it brought in.[2]

During the 1989–1990 school year, Merula Snyde saw it in the shop and suggested that the necklace would be a good way to kill Patricia Rakepick.[5] Jacob's sibling, Ben Copper and Merula later found one in the Forest Grove shortly before Rakepick appeared to duel them.[6]

In 1992 when Harry Potter mistakenly went to Borgin and Burkes instead of Diagon Alley, he saw the necklace and its warning label.[1] He would remember this four years later, when he encountered the necklace being weaponised by Draco Malfoy.[2]

In 1996, four years later, the necklace was purchased at Borgin and Burkes by Draco Malfoy, under the orders of Lord Voldemort.[7] During the first Hogsmeade trip of the 1996–1997 school year, Draco Malfoy, having detention with McGonagall, had cast an Imperius Curse on Madam Rosmerta.[3] She in turn, cast another Imperius Curse on student Katie Bell. Bell was ordered to take a package containing the opal necklace to Filch, saying it was from Rosmerta[3], who would take it into the castle past the Secrecy Sensor to Albus Dumbledore when he returned. Dumbledore would later comment to Malfoy that he believed this to be a crude and desperate method of assassination that was bound to end in the wrong hands.[3]

Leanne and the trio present in the lane after Katie Bell touches the necklace

Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger witnessed Bell arguing with her friend, Leanne, as they were heading back to Hogwarts. They noted that Katie did not seem 'herself,' acting dazed and detached. During the course of the argument, the package ripped, and the necklace touched Katie's skin through a minuscule hole in her glove. Katie rose gracefully into the air, screaming in terror, with Leanne screaming in terror as well and attempting to pull her down. Ron and Hermione attempted to help while Harry ran off to find someone, bumping into Hagrid and leading him back to the group.[2]

Snape examining the necklace and the curse placed upon it

After learning the nature of the event, Hagrid carried Katie to the castle, accompanied by Harry and his two friends, who handed over the necklace (wrapped in Harry's scarf) to Professor Severus Snape, through the Caretaker Argus Filch. Snape was able to stop the curse from spreading any further, but Katie was taken to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, where she spent much of that year recovering from the effects of the curse.[2][8]

Harry correctly deduced that Draco was the one who attempted to smuggle this necklace into the castle, but was unable to condemn him due to lack of evidence (and him having detention at the time actually shielded him further from the accusation).[2] However, due to Katie surviving, Dumbledore was not forced to expel and convict Draco, and thus allowed him to remain in Hogwarts to protect him from Voldemort's wrath.[3]

Despite Harry's accusation was dismissed at the time, it was taken into a certain degree of consideration as Snape later warned Malfoy that he was already suspected of having a hand in the tragedy, which Snape considered to be a reckless and foolish move.[9] Malfoy adamantly denied his involvement of the incident to Snape,[9] but admitted it to Dumbledore when confronting him at the top of the Astronomy Tower, where Harry also overheard the confession and relayed it to McGonagall.[3]


Harry Potter: "How is she?"
Albus Dumbledore: "Still very unwell, although she was relatively lucky. She appears to have brushed the necklace with the smallest possible amount of skin; there was a tiny hole in her glove. Had she put it on, had she even held it in her ungloved hand, she would have died, perhaps instantly. Luckily Professor Snape was able to do enough to prevent a rapid spread of the curse —"
— The deadliness of this curse on Katie Bell[src]

Katie tortured by the necklace's curse

The necklace had a very deadly curse placed on it. When it made physical contact on the victim, the curse would spread rapidly on the recipient, the level of the effect dependent on the amount of contact made. If simply brushed against a small amount of skin, then the victim would enter a trance of emptiness, levitate gracefully but eerily six feet above, then suffer such anguish that they would scream and thrash so wildly that they could not recognise anything around them and fall back down.

If left untreated by a powerful enough counter-curse, it would lead to the curse spreading further and eventually death.[2]

Even after such treatment has been administered, it would take the victim around six months to fully recover at an institute such as St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.[8]

Should a person be unfortunate enough to hold the necklace barehanded or wear it, it would cause death, perhaps instantly. Preventing the curse from affecting the holder would require avoiding any direct contact with the necklace, such as gloves or packaging paper.[2]


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4 (At Flourish and Blotts)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 12 (Silver and Opals)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  4. Pottermore - From the Story: Opal Necklace
  5. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 6 (On Jacob's Trail)
  6. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 18 (Into the Forest)
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 6 (Draco's Detour)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 13 (The Secret Riddle)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)