An opal consists of hydrated silica, which is semi-transparent and displays varying colours against a pale or dark backdrop. Scientifically speaking, it is a mineraloid rather than a mineral for lacking the crystal structure required to meet its definition, but an opal is still recognized among the true minerals for being downright worthy to be one. Opal is sourced from and widely produced in Australia, making up around 97% of all opals in the world. In fact, the world’s largest and undoubtedly the most valuable gem coined as “Olympic Australis” was discovered in August of the year 1956, situated at the “Eight Mile” opal field in the town of Coober Pedy, South Australia. It weighed 17,000 carats and measured 11 inches long, 4.75 inches in height, and had a width of 4.5 inches.
An opal can literally be your sunshine after the rain, which transforms into a beautiful rainbow because of the majestic spectrum of colours it produces! Remember back in school days when it was taught that sunlight is a made up of the huge range of colours the eye can see, which apparently looks white to the eye, as demonstrated by Sir Isaac Newton. When it passes through different mediums, the refraction of light occurs at different angles, which are manifested into the exquisite prism contained within an opal called the play-of-colour. This gemstone’s phenomenon and brilliance cannot be highlighted more, that if a picture paints a thousand words, an opal is truly the perfect epitome.
Natural Precious Opals
Precious opal or the opaline silica exhibits various variables of its internal colours, which elicits the base colour, flash colours and patterns, translucent or opaque effect, and other forms of the colour play it is known for. Patterns command its value and the popular Harlequin, Flagstone, Chinese Writing, Picture Stones, Rolling Flash, Ribbon, and Straw are just a few of them. This makes the opal perfect for the collector, gem enthusiast, and while curiosity can kill the cat, you can never go wrong with studying an opal. Each gem is wrapped in alluring mystique, spectral hues, and enveloped in the splendor of nature, and there’s just so much to discover which makes the opal quite a delightful piece!
The most popular opal types include:
These have yielded the lab created opals which are man made or gems that have undergone some form of treatment, which can be categorized as:
These stones typically possess similar elements as natural opal except water, rendering an unmistakably beautiful piece that is less prone to breakage, and which are only obvious to the trained eye.
Opal Silver Jewellery
Opal is endowed with magnificence and astounding beauty, and opal jewellery allows you to grasp it right at your fingertips. Wearing an opal entails you not only the privilege of owning one of the world’s grandest riches, but you can gain the best of both worlds by acquiring opals created by the skilful hands of man. Opal infused in silver jewellery kills two birds in one stone, the play of colour of the prized gem, and the glamour of the silver metal.