Fire Opal Marquis Ring

Opal & Diamond Ring

Boulder Opal Pendant

Boulder Opal Pendant

Mexican Opal Ring

Mexican Opal Ring

Opal

Opal is a non-crystalline form of mineral silica – the chemical composition is silicon dioxide and water. The size and spacing of the silica and water within the stone creates the opal’s ability to reflect and refract wavelengths of light in a rainbow of colors.  The term “opalescence” comes from this phenomena.

Opal is composed partly of water and should not be left in direct sunlight, or stored at high temperatures.

The body color of the opal ranges from white to black, with black being the rarest.  The darker the body color, the greater the emphasis on the colors playing within the opal. Opal varies wildly in intensity, color and appearance – each one has a different character.

Black Opals are found mainly in the famous Lightning Ridge deposits in Australia.

Boulder Opals are found in Queensland, Australia. These are seams of opal in sandstone matrix. This often looks like black opal from the top.

Most opal has a milky and somewhat opaque body ranging to a clear crystaline body color, notably from the Coober Pedy fields in Australia.  Some similar and beautiful specimens of Brazilian opal are available.

Fire Opal has a body of yellow to reddish orange.  It is mostly mined in Mexico.  The redder the body tone is, the more expensive the stone. Mexican opal can also have a water clear or milky body tone. When clear, the opal fires seem to float in space.

Ethiopian opal, a more recent find, is currently in good supply. It comes in clear to yellowish body colors and often shows brilliant colors floating inside.

The name Opal comes from the Greek word “opallios”, which means change.  They believed the wearer of opal would have the power of prophecy.  Romans wore opals as a symbol of hope and virtue. The  common belief that wearing opal brings bad luck may stem from a disinformation campaign by European diamantaires who were losing sales to the new found Australian opal in the 19th  century.