Today I decided to highlight Opal, one of two birthstones for the month of October. This gemstone consists of hydrated silica, typically semitransparent. Their beautiful colors vary from blues and greens, to fiery reds and beyond as in the custom ring containing a flashy Mexican Fire Opal.
Reports on when and where the first Opals were discovered vary.
Most agree it was in a place called Lightening Ridge (Wallangulla) Australia in the early 1880’s. Of course when first discovered, their quality and value was not recognized.
It wasn’t until the early 1890’s that mining of Opals in Australia started in earnest. The mining lasted only about 25 years as the gems became more and more scarce. Today, you’re more likely to find a laboratory made opal than a natural one. Just as beautiful and diverse as the naturally made stones, they are a lot more reasonably priced.
Did you know Opals contain 3-24% water?
Encapsulated within the stone the water veins give Opals their glowing beautiful color. The gems themselves are a silica base and if you look closely you can see what looks like tiny rivulets running through them. This makes Opal cutting a true art. Cut the stone in the wrong place and you may release the water contained within and poof – all that vibrant color is gone!
One of the most wonderful things about Opals…no two are ever alike.
Even when mined from the same vein, each stone contains different colors and patterns. So, ladies, forget diamonds being a girl’s best friend! Opals are as unique as each and every one of us! Give me the fiery iridescence of an Opal any day!
If you have a special lady who loves Opals, drop me a line.