All opals are made of silicon dioxide and water. The amount of water varies and determines the fragility of the individual stone. This gemstone is formed when silicon dioxide becomes wet and turns to a gel. This gel substance then works its way into the open spaces between rocks and caves. As it sets, an opal is formed. |
Typically, the gemstone retains about 10% water content which makes it quite soft and delicate. They also come in a variety of colors-shades of blue, green, pink, black, white, red, yellow and orange. This stone is coveted for its play of color which is the dazzling display of color as light bounces off the spheres of silica.
The fire opal is one gemstone that is less desired for its play of color as it is for its actual color. As the name implies, this stone is afire with reds, yellows and oranges. Finding a fire opal pendant with hot shades as well as play of color offers the best of both worlds.
Where do they come from? This fiery stone typically comes from Mexico. In fact, it is the country's official gemstone. Ancient Mayans and Aztecs used the fire opal in their mosaic creations and also in special ceremonies. While most of the gemstones on the market likely came from Mexico, there are other mines located in the United States, South America and Australia among others. Most recently, significant deposits were found in Brazil and the stones were of considerable size.
Special days for a special stone The opal is the birthstone for October. This is a great time to surprise a birthday girl with the bold hot shades of a fire opal bracelet instead of the more commonly known pastel iridescent gemstones. Just looking at it will lift her spirits and energize her. Another special day reserved for this stone is the 14th wedding anniversary. After all these years, the love is still burning strong. What better way to show this than with a smoldering hot fire opal.
Cleaning and caring for jewelry Because of the water content, this stone is very delicate with a ranking between 5.5 and 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Because of this, protect pieces from scratches and chips by storing them in a soft jewelry bag away from other harder pieces of jewelry.
Fire opals and other varieties should be protected from sudden and extreme temperature changes as well as arid conditions that can dry the stones out. To clean them, use a very soft cloth and gentle soap with tepid water to remove any residue. Because this gem is not durable enough for everyday wear, saving it for special events means less cleaning as well. The polished look can eventually wear away and may require re-polishing.
This hot gemstone looks spectacular in a cabochon or a faceted cut, but it should be in a setting that protects the stone as much as possible. This is particularly important for pieces like a fire opal bracelet that tend to get knocked around more often. Whether it is set in silver or gold, this stone is on fire with its lava flow of reds, oranges and yellows.
A beautiful bracelet or pendant can make an impression on that special person. Surprise your loved ones born in October with the birthday gift of fire opal jewelry. Find the perfect jewelry at www.gemaffair.com
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