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Opal

The play of light from an Opal is like brush strokes on a painting The play of light of an opal can fascinate in different ways, just like a painting it can be described from different viewpoints.

Gemologist's Advice

"The cut is not important. Evaluate its colour and the play on light"

Opal

The clear noble opal is the most well known variety, praised by Pliny the Elder as the non plus ultra in gemstones for its unusual aspect due to its shimmering colours.As a result of its structure, the patches of colour are brought about by the diffusion of light into minute spheres of hydrous silica within the gemstone. The opal is in fact a silicon oxide hydrate; it has the same composition as quartz plus 1% up to 21% water and has a non-crystalline sphere structure.There are less known varieties, even rarer than the white opal, like the black Noble Opal, known about only from the beginning of the last century after the discovery of mines in Australia and also the bright yellow orange Fire Opal extracted mainly in Mexico.Most opals are cut in cabochon, round shape or different forms; only quality fire opals are facet cut.The body colour of the gemstone and the play on light are elements that determine the price.The Opal is one of the more delicate gemstones, it can be easily scratched and is very sensitive to temperature changes. Being a silicate hydrate, a very dry environment may damage it so it is advisable to soak it in water every so often. Do not use oils or detergents to clean it.

Curiosities:

The ancient Greek populations believed that the opal was a talisman able to foresee the future and a symbol of success and good luck. In the same way, the Romans associated the opal to positive and healthy characteristics, as it was symbol of hope and fortune. However, the positive power of this gem assumed other shades and opals became dark magic symbols, able to reveal forthcoming misfortunes.

Birthstone of October