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Opal Gemstone Information

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Birthstone: October
Zodiac Sign: Libra

Our unique opal engagement rings are a very popular choice, and it's not hard to see why. This beautiful gemstone looks different from every angle, giving these rings a look that changes from moment to moment. 

Opal History

Opal is a beautiful stone, the finer varieties possessing light-diffracting silica spheres. These give gemstone-quality opals the “fire” that makes them more valuable. If you tilt a high quality opal from side to side, you will see the different planes within the stone, each reflecting different colors of shimmering light. Nearly all of these fine, “Precious” Opals are found in Southern Australia.

Opals have been mined since at least the fourteenth century, and have cultivated a great wealth of associated lore. One Chinese belief asserted that to receive Opal jewelry as a gift, one must be pure of heart, as Opals are a stone of purity, loyalty, and hope. The Romans believed that Opals brought about hope and good fortune, and were carried around for protection. Multiple cultures believed that Opals could evoke foresight and warn against dangers, such as poison. In fact, Aboriginal Shamans oftentimes incorporated Opals into spiritual rituals, hoping to conjure prophetic visions. Some cultures even ground Opal up to be used in magical potions!

Are Opals Bad Luck?

It is interesting to note that during the 19th century, Opal jewelry was regarded as bad luck. There is much speculation as to how this belief arose. Some say that because Opal requires a little more care than many other stones, it would oftentimes be mistreated and break. In fact, it was believed by some that an Opal’s good luck would reverse if broken. Others believed that, while a romantic Opal jewelry gift brought good fortune to a loyal lover, it would bring bad luck to the unfaithful. The French thought that wearing an Opal could make one invisible, which resulted in Opals being a popular choice amongst thieves!

It seems that the kind of fortune Opal jewelry brings is dependent on the temperament of its wearer! Modern metaphysical beliefs view Opal as a stone which possesses the powerful capacity to reflect a person’s energy and feelings back on themselves, making Opal jewelry a good choice for those with healthy dispositions and positive thoughts. This renders Opal even more intriguing, as its effect will vary widely depending on the inner beauty of the wearer.

Metaphysical Properties of Opal

  • Intensifies inner disposition and reflects back onto wearer
  • Allows those with negative thought to become aware of their condition
  • Brings hope and good fortune to the pure of heart
  • Subdues nightmares and aids in dream recall
  • Believed to help skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea
  • Believed to strengthen thin or weak fingernails and hair

 

Opal Quality

There are numerous types of Opal, including Common Opal, Precious Opal, White Opal, Black Opal, Light Opal, Boulder Opal, Peruvian Opal, and the list goes on. The value of a Precious Opal is based on numerous factors (not in order of importance).

Background Color: White is the most common background color and is less expensive than black background Opals, which are very rare. The darker the background, the deeper the overall colors tend to look.

Fire Brightness: “Fire” is the flecks of light-diffracting color within the gemstone. (Brighter is better)
Note: Not to be confused with "Fire Opals" which usually don't have any Fire!

Blind Angles: Angles where the viewer sees no fire in the Opal. (Less is better)).

Blind Spots: Spots in the Opal (from any given angle) where no fire is seen. (Less is better)).

Fire Pattern: Bigger fire flecks are more valuable, as are distinctive uniform patterns.).

Fire Color Range: The most valuable and rare is a red color in the fire. Blue-Green color is the second most valuable, with blue-only fire being the most common and therefore least valuable. However, blue fire is Much more valuable than no fire!).

Cut Quality: Thicker Opals are more valuable, as are regularly-shaped Opals.

Opal Care

Opal is a softer stone, approximately the same hardness as glass, so it is important to treat your opal carefully in order to avoid damaging it. Opal may crack if subjected to very dry conditions or rapid changes in temperature. Try to avoid very high temperatures or low humidity extremes, such as boiling water or zero humidity bank vaults.

1.Clean your opal wedding ring with a damp soft cloth, but never soak it or immerse it in water.

2.Never allow anyone to clean your opal wedding ring in an ultrasonic cleaner, as the intense vibrations may cause your opal to crack.

3.Put your jewelry on last. Exposing your jewelry to hair spray, cosmetics and perfumes can cause the opal to become dull. In addition, jewelry should be removed BEFORE using a swimming pool or Jacuzzi (chlorine), showering, dishwashing, and handling bleach, alcohols or cleaners.

4.For safety reasons, and to minimize scratching, jewelry should also be removed when participating in yard work, cleaning or sports activities.

5.Store your opal wedding ring in a padded cloth bag for protection. For longer storage periods, place your it in cotton wool with a few drops of water, then into a sealed plastic bag just to be safe. The water is not intended to soak into the opal (as opal is impervious) but will prevent water coming out of the stone if exposed to very low humidity environments.