Hyacinthus according to Opal presents fragments of Hyacinthus’ body as ersatz opals, their opalescence imitated with paper and ink. Sculpted, torn and air-dried clay pieces are pasted with fragments of a photocopy, which shows a drawing of Hyacinthus, based on a Greek statue of the late 5th Century BC. The photocopy has been coloured with drops of ink and jets of paint in white, yellow, red, blue, and gold, and mingled with these pigments are drops of Liquid Gold brand room odoriser, a nitrate used as a sexual stimulant and recreational drug, particularly among gay men. The fragments are screwed into a wall in changeable configurations.

Hyacinthus, embodying both juvenile beauty and tragic devotion, became a key reference in the culture of homoerotics which emerged in Victorian Oxford, where the development of a Hellenic curriculum had allowed educated men to articulate and justify male-on-male desire. Olive Custance had a passion for opals, and for feminine men, as well as other women. She married Lord Alfred Douglas, wrote poems about Antinous, and Hyacinthus, and she named one of her volumes Opals, and she took Opal as her nickname.