Gemstones are unarguably supernatural works of art!
A lot of times, you can’t but brood over the spellbinding beauty that each gemstone exudes. You are curious to know, where do they originate from and how do they evolve?
Then you marvel at creation and nature. So much more for the opal gemstone with its interwoven array of lightening colors that can’t be ignored, oozing a rainbow of colors and giving the wearer of the opal jewelry a reason to stand out.
Every October born is exceptionally lucky to have such a dazzle as the October birthstone.
Whatever this October birthstone may represent for you, we have clearly outlined the important information that you need to know before you make a purchase for yourself or your loved one.
What is Opal?
The term “Opal” is said to be derived from the ancient Greek word, opallios. meaning “a change of color”.
Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica; its water content may range from 3 to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6 and 10%.
Furthermore, play-of-color is defined as a pseudo chromatic optical effect resulting in flashes of colored light from certain minerals, as they are changed in white light.
Depending on the conditions in which it formed, opal may be transparent, translucent, or opaque and the background color may be white, black, or nearly any color of the visual spectrum. Black opal is considered to be the rarest, whereas white, gray, and green are the most common.
There are varieties of the opal gemstone. One of such is fire opal commonly called the Mexican fire opal due to its origin. Fire opal is transparent or translucent with yellow to light orange to intense bright red body color that may or may not have a play of color.
Peruvian opal by virtue of its origin, also known as blue opal and girasol opal located in Oregon and Mexico.
Furthermore, we have the white opal, the most common, has a transparent or white body color with vibrant pastel flashes of rainbow color
The black opal which is regarded as the most outstanding of the opal world, has a blue, gray or black body color that reveals a more dramatic play of color.
Boulder opal is most often black opal with some of the ironstone matrix in which it occurred still intact—and has become quite a designer favorite.
Crystal opal is transparent or semi-transparent dark to light body tone with brilliant flashes of color swimming within it. Lets take a quick look at the rich history of this October birthstone.
History of Opal Gemstone
The earliest known opal artifacts are dated to 4,000 BC, were found in a cave in Kenya and possibly mined in Ethiopia.
Several cultures believed opal was permeated with magical, protective and even “healing” powers.
Arabic tales believed that it came from the heavens in lightning flashes.
The Aztecs believed it was a charm against the evil eye and curses. In ancient Greece, it guarded against disease.
During the middle ages, it was the “eye stone” to promote good eyesight, as well as a talisman, ladies would give to men when on crusade, to bring him good luck and safe return.
Opal was rare and very valuable in antiquity. In Europe, it was a gem prized by royalty. Until the opening of the large deposits in Australia in the 19th century the only known source was Červenica beyond the Roman frontier in Slovakia. .
Sourcing for the Opal Gemstone
This precious piece of gemstone is scattered around the continent, spanning from Europe to Africa, North America and its environs. However, Australian opals are the most prized.
About 95% of the world’s opal is mined in Australia, with black opal from New South Wales, boulder opal (boulder matrix, opal nuts) from Queensland, and light opal (crystal, white, jelly) from South Australia.
A new opal deposit was discovered in 2008 near the village of Wegel Tena, in volcanic rocks of Ethiopia’s Wollo Province which is proving to be a boom for the opal market with stable production. Unlike previous Ethiopian opals, the new material is mostly white, with some brown opal, fire opal, and colorless “crystal” opal. Some of it resembles Australian and Brazilian sedimentary opals, with play-of-color that is often very vivid.
Central Mexico has a significant quantity and variety of opal, where mining and production first originated in the state of Querétaro. The most well regarded opal from Mexico is the fire opal. Their range is red, orange, yellow, or brown in body color and can be transparent to translucent. The most well regarded opal from Mexico is the fire opal. Their range is red, orange, yellow, or brown in body color and can be transparent to translucent.
Other sourcing countries include, Peru, Brazil, Nevada, Canada, Czech Republic, Guatemala, United State, Indonesia, Hungary and Honduras.
Throughout history this unstable gem has symbolized good fortune and was believed to inspire love and creativity, enhance self-confidence, and ease navigating life changes.
October’s birthstone, opal is a gem of positive transformation, revealing the colorful attributes of those who wear these October birthstone jewelry.
Caring for Your Opal Gemstone
Opal ranks 5-6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making this gemstone more suitable for jewelry like opal rings, opal earrings, pendants and brooches that rarely encounter impacts. In rings, a bezel setting helps to protect the stone. Generally, a stable material, high heat or sudden temperature changes could cause it to fracture.
Ensure you remove your opal jewelry before taking a shower or when washing your hands. Also, it should never be soak or immerse your in water.
To clean the opal, use a soft dry or damp cloth. You can dab opal frequently with an oil-moistened cloth (olive oil) to help preserve it. do not leave opals exposed to bright light, direct sunlight, or excessively dry or hot conditions.
Various jewelers have crafted this beautiful October birthstone jewelry for fashion icons, rulers, kings and Queen into opal rings, opal necklace and brooches.
An evidence of such is the Andamooka Opal, presented to Queen Elizabeth II, also known as the Queen's Opal.
You can also evolve in our mix and match of Opal gemstone jewelry for that special outing and be the spark of lightning for all to marvel at.