Opal jewelry is very beautiful due to opal's many colors. Watching the fire in opal jewelry is enchanting.
Birthstones Anniversary Lore Jokes Cutting Opal
Gemstone Jewelry Birthstone Jewelry
Top-grade Iridescent Opal Jewelry courtesy of JeGem.com
More Opal Jewelry:
Opal Earrings (has more details on australian opal)
Opal Rings (includes details on other places where opal is mined)
Opal Necklaces and Pendants (tips on choosing opal jewelry)
Opal Jewelry Care & Where
What is Opal?
Opal is a noncrystalline form of the mineral silica which, despite its amorphous structure, displays an amazing degree of internal organization. Opal is related to its more commonly found but highly crystalline cousins quartz and agate, and is formed from amorphous "balls" or lumps" of silica rather that from ordered, naturally faceted crystals.
The chemical composition of opal is SiO2H2O, silicon dioxide combined with water (an opal stone may contain up to 30% water.) The silicate minerals in the stone add to its weight, giving it a specific gravity ranging from 1.98 to 2.5 times that of pure water. Opal's scratch hardness is measured at 6.0 to 6.5 on the Mohs' scale, similar in hardness to quartz, a little more than halfway between the hardness of talc and diamond.
Most opal is more than 60 million years old and generally dates back to the
Cretaceous period when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
How Do You Care For Opal Jewelry?
Opal is a "living" stone, which means it must be protected from heat and detergents that "dry" the gem. Hence, take off opal jewelry before doing household tasks. Opals develop crazing if they are allowed to dry out. Heat treatment is catastrophic!! In addition to cracking, loss of water causes loss of iridescence.
To clean opal, simply wipe it with a clean, soft dry cloth such as silk or cotton. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, chemicals, or toothpaste when cleaning opal jewelry. Generally you do not want to immerse opal jewelry in water.
Where is Opal Found?
It is found near the earth's surface in areas where ancient geothermal hot
springs once flowed. The minerals bubbled up from beneath the surface of the
earth and slowly, over the centuries, lined the walls of cracks, vents and
underground cavities in the bedrock. Most opal is found where geothermal hot
springs dried up during seasonal periods of rainfall and extended dry periods.
More than 90% of the world's quality gem opals come from Southern Australia, although it can be found in other parts of the world such as Brazil, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Nevada and Idaho. All black opals come exclusively from Australia.
How is Opal Made?
The story of opal inn Australia begins more than million years ago when the
deserts of central Australia were a great inland sea, with silica-laden sediment
deposited around its shoreline. After the sea receded and disappeared to become
the great Artesian basin, weathering 30 million years ago released a lot of
the silica into a solution which filled cracks in the rocks, layers in clay,
and even some fossils. Some of the silica became precious opal. Opal is one
of the few gemstones that is sedimentary in origin. The water in opal is a
remnant of that ancient sea.
The most striking quality of opal is its ability to refract and reflect specific wavelengths of light. In fact, the term "opalescence" was coined to describe this phenomenon. The size and spacing of the amorphous spheres of silica within the stone refracts specific wavelengths of light; each sphere refracting a single, pure spectral color much like the individual microscopic droplets of water in a rainbow. The interplay of these pure wavelengths of light gives opal its unique visual appeal, and makes it one of the most sought-after gemstones in the world.
Opal Gem-related books:
- Opal Identification and Value - by Paul B Downing
Learn more about how to choose your Opal jewelry wisely.
- Opals (Fred Ward Gem Book Series.) - by Fred Ward, Charlotte Ward
Great quick reference on opals and opal jewelry
- The World of Opals - by Allan W. Eckert
The first comprehensive book on opals in over 30 years, this book covers the history of opals, where opals are found and how the stone is mined. It also covers cutting, polishing techniques and other methods for working with this "Queen of Gems."
- Opal Cutting Made Easy - by Paul B Downing
Guide to cutting Opals for opal jewelry.
- Gemstone Buying Guide: A Guide to Buying - by Renee Newman
Very nice gemstone identification book.
- Gemstones of the World - by Walter Schumann
A very well written source on gemstones with great descriptions and photographs
Books with Opal in the Title:
- Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart - by Phyllis A. Whitney
An adaptation of an authentic journal kept by an orphaned six-year-old girl.
- Hurricane Opal: Live on Video
A whirlwhird of a movie on Hurricane Opal
- Opal Darkness (Black Lace) - by Cleo Cordell
- The Prisoner in the Opal - by A.E.W. Mason
- Return to Opal Reach (Scarlet Series) - by Clarissa Garland
Romance: a story of passion and pain and healing, and two people from different worlds trying to work out their difficult marriage.
- The Curious Lore of Precious Stones - by George Frederick Kunz
The definitive book on fascinating, traditional gem lore.
- Gemstones (Smithsonian Handbooks) - by Cally Hall, Harry Taylor (Photographer)
A field guide to gemstones. Nice pictures and good, brief, well-written descriptions of over 130 varieties of gemstones.
- Spiritual Value of Gem Stones - by Wally Richardson and Lenora Huett
Very sweet book on the mystical properties of gemstones.
Thanks to Amazon.com for fast, efficient, and reliable book processing
Birthstone Months with Opal
- April Birthstone: Mystical Birthstone
- June Birthstone: Other Birthstone [listed on another website elsewhere on the web]
- October Birthstone: Modern and Ayurvedic Birthstone
- Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18): Birthstone
- Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22): Birthstone/Lucky Charms
Opal is the anniversary gemstone for the 14th and 18th years of marriage.
Opal Mystical Properties
Opal jewelry is used to see possibilities in ones life.
do you find the President of the jewelry company?
- Agate - Fine-grained variegated chalcedony with banded, striped, or mosslike coloration.
- Amorphous - Having no definite form.
- Black Opal - Rare form of mineral opal found only in Australia.
- Cabochon - A gem or bead cut in convex form and highly polished but not faceted. Also, this style of cutting.
- Crazing - Tiny cracks on the surface.
- Crystal Opal - Transparent with flashes. Highly valued due to the brilliance of its colors and the fact that many layers of color within the stone can also be seen.
- Crystalline - Composed of or resembling crystals.
- Direction - A measure of opal value.
- Dopping - Attaching a gem to a wooden extension by means of adhesive wax in order to polish or facet the stone with greater ease.
- Doublet - A manufactured opal gem consisting of two layers: Opal and obsidian or ironstone.
- Fire (or pinfire) - A measure of an opal's color or iridescence.
- Fire Opal - A translucent or transparent mineral opal found mainly in Mexico.
- Geothermal - Of or relating to the heat of the Earth's interior.
- Mohs' Scale - A scale of hardness for minerals in which 1 represents the hardness of talc and 10 (sometimes 15) represents the hardness of diamond.
- Organic Opal - An opal formed from the chemical petrifying of organic materials such as wood or seashells.
- Potch - Crusty mineral coating on naturally occurring opals.
- Quartz - A mineral SiO2, silicon dioxide, that occurs in crystals or crystalline masses.
- Silica - A mineral SiO2, silicon dioxide, that occurs in crystalline or amorphous masses.
- Synthetic Opal - Man-Made gem opal.
- Triplet - A manufactured opal gem consisting of three layers: Clear quartz, opal, and obsidian or ironstone.
- White Opal - common form of gem quality opal, usually whit or milky white in color with bright pinfire flashes.
He's the one in the Opal Office.
Care must be taken when polishing and setting opals. Despite their hardness, they are prone to crazing and cracking, and loss of water content causes a noticeable loss of iridescence. To prevent this, opals are normally stored in moist cotton wool or cloth until it is time to work with them. Sometimes, an opal that has lost its opalescence may be "rejuvenated" by rehydrating the stone with water or special oils, but this may only temporarily improve the stone's appearance.
In the opal cutting process the potch (a kind of mineral crust) is ground away from the presentation areas of the gem opal. This process unlike diamond mining, where the blueground (Kimberlite) is crushed away from the diamond crystals.
Individual opals are "dopped" -affixed to the ends of wooden dowels about the size of old fashioned wooden clothespins, usually with dopping wax, which resembles sealing wax.
Grinding and polishing of opals is done under a cold water drip to prevent the stones from overheating and cracking. A series of grits is used, from coarsest to finest, to produce the desired finely polished surface that reveals the full play of color in the opal.
Most gem opals are ground to a highly polished convex oval shape called a "cabochon."
- High quality opal is more valuable than diamond; up to $20,000 per carat.
- Some people think the opal is bad luck when worn if it is not your birthstone. This is not true. The story was started by Sir Walter Scott in his novel Anne of Gierstein, in which the heroine of the novel has her life force caught in the beautiful opal she wears and she dies when the fire in the opal is extinguished.
- Opal is the October birthstone.
- In ancient times opal was accepted as a symbol of faithfulness and confidence.
- The name "opal;" is derived from the Latin word opalus, meaning seeing jewel.
- The Arabs believed that opals fell from heaven in flashes of lightning, and that's how they received their fiery color.
- Opals are very powerful in ritual magic. Since a quality opal contains every color of every other birthstone, it can be used or charged with all the energies and powers of the other stones combined and can be used in place of any birthstone for spells, rituals or other magical needs. Opals have been linked to invisibility and astral projection. and have been used to recall past lives (each color supposedly represents a past life).
- It has reputed healing properties, especially to increase mental capacities such as creative imagination and other unused powers of the mind.
- Fire opals are often used in money rituals to draw funds to those who are in need, normally worn as a pendant on a gold necklace, one surrounded with 10 or 12 small diamonds is said to have excellent money drawing power.
- Black opals are the tools of choice for witches and magicians, who use them primarily to enhance their magical receptive or projection powers. Black opals worn near the heart on necklaces made of gold are said to ward off evil, protect one from the evil eye and protect travelers on journeys to far away lands. Opals have been ground up and used a magic potions to heal the body, ward off bad dreams, and used an energy enhancement tools.
- The white opal, when used in rituals on the full moon night, is said to bring the moon goddesses' powers to full fruition in the practitioner.
- Archaeologist Louis Leakey found six thousand year old opal artifacts in a cave in Kenya!
- The Aztecs mined opal in South and Central America.
- Opal was also treasured in the Middle Ages and was called ophthalmios, or "eye stone," due to a widespread belief that it was beneficial to eyesight. Blonde women wore opal necklaces to protect their hair from losing its color.
- A beautiful opal called the orphanus was set in the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. It was described "as though pure white snow flashed and sparked with the color of bright ruddy wine, and was overcome by this radiance."
- Opals are also set in the crown jewels of France. Napoleon gave Josephine a beautiful opal with brilliant red flashed called "The burning of Troy," making her his He
More Opal Lore
Opal has been described in medival times as a cure for diseases of the eye.
Opal jewelry is given as a symbol of hope, happiness and truth.
Black opal is regarded as an extremely lucky stone.
Virgin Valley Fire Opal is a US State Gemstone of Nevada.