From Giftypedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Opalbirthstone.jpgOpal is the birthstone of October and also the accepted gem for the 14th wedding anniversary.
Most opal is more than 60 million years old and generally dates back to the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs roamed the earth. 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.

Opal was included among the noble gems. Napoleon gave Josephine a beautiful opal with brilliant red flashes called "The Burning of Troy," asking her to become his "Helen".

Scientists believe they have discovered opals on Mars![1]. Since Mars is the main ruling planet for Aries, perhaps Martian opals will make a great Zodiac sign gift for someone in the future.

[edit] What's in a Name

The name opal comes from the a Sanskrit word upala simply meaning a stone, or the Latin word opalus, meaning seeing jewel.[2]

[edit] Mohs Scale

Opals are not very hard only rating a 5.5 - 6.5 on the Mohs Scale[3].

[edit] Colors and Varieties of Opal

Black Opal fossil sm.jpg
Round white opal ring.jpg

Black Opal - The term black opal is misleading because the opal is not actually black, but instead has a very dark base. Black Opal comes from the Lightning Ridge region of Northern New South Wales in Australia. It is the most rare and valuable opal. Fine quality black opals often cost more per carat than diamonds.

Boulder Opal - Boulder opals form on a dark ironstone base in the boulder opal belt, an area between the New South Wales border and northwest Queensland in Australia.

Light Opal - The most common type of opal found and refers to both the crystal type opal (translucent) and the milky opal (opaque).

Fire Opal - Fire opals are transparent to translucent opals with warm body colors yellow, orange, orange-yellow or red and they do not show any play-of-color. Commonly found in Mexico.

Crystal Opal - Crystal opals[4] are transparent or translucent, come in all color variations and display bright colors.

White Opal - Mined in United States in Nevada and Idaho.

Blue Opal - Also called Peruvian opal. A semi-opaque to opaque blue-green stone found in Peru.

Common Opal - Milk opal (milky bluish to greenish), resin opal (honey-yellow with a resinous luster), wood opal (the replacement of the organic material in wood with opal).

Synthetic Opal - Opals of all varieties have been synthesized experimentally and commercially. The resulting material is distinguishable from natural opal by its regularity. Synthetics are distinguished from naturals by their lack of fluorescence under UV light.[5]

[edit] Occasions for Giving the Gift of Opals

Opal Armband sm.jpg

If you are searching for something a bit unusual, look at opals. Opals are extremely versatile and work well with a variety of other stones.

Opals look beautiful set in both sterling silver, white or yellow gold.

Opals flash a rainbow of iridescent colors.

Opal is given as a symbol of hope, happiness and truth.

  • Sweet 16 - Opals have been thought to symbolize the traits of purity and hope in Europe, making opal jewelry an ideal 16th birthday gift for young women.
  • Birthstone - Opal is the birthstone for October. The alternate birthstone for October is Peridot.
  • Astrological Sign Stone - Opal is considered the gemstone for the Zodiac sign Libra (September 23 - October 23).
  • Mystical Starstone or Astral Stone - The Astrological or Zodiac signs with an affinity for opal are the Water Signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces and the Air Sign of Libra.

[edit] Mystical Uses and Legends of Opal

Opal pendant.jpg
  • To the Romans, opal was considered to be a token of hope and purity.
  • In the past, the opal was credited with strengthening the eyes and blood of its wearers.
  • Early Greeks believed the opal bestowed powers of foresight and prophecy upon its owner.
  • In Arabian folklore, it is said that the stone fell from heaven in flashes of lightning.
  • Opal jewelry was coveted by blonde maidens in Central Europe who believed that the opal could magically preserve their hair color.

[edit] Resources

  1. MSNBC - Martian Opal Points to Ancient Water
  2. Encyclopedia of Gemstones
  3. Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness
  4. Aussie Opals
  5. Synthetic Opal

[edit] Related Items