The Unique and Vibrant World of Opals If boring and milky-white is what comes to mind when you think of an opal, think again. Sure there are some stones that are more sedate and subtle in their fire, but there are also some that will set you on fire with their brilliance. Opals are a truly unique gemstone. Really! No two are alike in pattern and color. You can confidently say that no one else has an opal pendant like the one you have. |
History and Legend This gemstone got its name because of its iridescent-looking qualities. Opal is derived from the Greek word "Opallus" and the Latin word "Opalus." Respectively, these words mean to see color changes and precious stone. As with many gemstones, folklore attaches mystical-like powers to the opal. Ancient Greeks believed it gave a person the ability to see and predict the future. Others believed the opal helped ward off the ills of aging. If it does help, why not slip on an opal ring or an opal bracelet? It certainly couldn't hurt!
Origin and Chemistry Opals primarily come from Australia. In fact, nearly 95% of the world’s supply comes from the four major mines in Australia. A smattering of stones comes from Mexico, Brazil, Nevada and Idaho.
Opals are extremely soft and delicate. Their make-up is actually a silica gel, which is what forms when silica is introduced to water. Opals hold water and about 6-10% of their composition is water. Because of its flexible state, it grows wherever there is space and takes the shape of that space. Because it is so soft- a 5.5 on the Mohs scale, an opal ring is less practical, certainly for everyday wear. An opal pendant holds up better because there is less chance of knocking it and scratching it through wear.
Birthstone and Types
This unique and delicate gemstone happens to be the birthstone for October. There are a myriad of colors and styles to choose from in celebration of your birthday or someone else's. For a bold piece of birthstone jewelry, you can put together a black opal and diamond bracelet with black opal diamond earrings. The black opal is the boldest of the types because the black serves as a wonderful contrast to the blues, greens, reds and yellows. However, it is also the hardest to find and therefore, quite expensive.
Instead of investing in a strand of pearls, why not look at white opal and diamond pendants. They are just as classic, but also unexpected and beautiful. White opals are not as bold as the black, but they are just as pretty. Instead of bright and vibrant, the colors come across as soft and pastel.
In between the black and white lay the semi-black and the light opals with varying shades of bright and pastel colors. The crystal opal has no color- not black or white. It is clear and only color you see is the fire, the diffraction of light.
Whatever piece of opal jewelry you choose, take care of it. An opal ring makes a great family heirloom, but not if it is scratched or cracked. Follow your jewelers cleaning instructions so that your opal jewelry lasts for generations to come.
Opals are a truly unique gemstone since no two are alike in pattern and color. They can be the perfect gift for that special person if you want to give them something that no one else in the world has. For more opal jewelry, like rings, bracelets and pendants; visit www.gemaffair.com.
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