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Opal

IMG_1526The Tech

Variety: Opal
Chemical Composition: Hydrated Silica
Hardness: 5.5-6.5
Specific Gravity: 2.15
Refractive Index: 1.45
Color: Clear, white, yellow, blue, gray, black, with flashes of every color
Where Found: Australia (producing 97% of the world’s opals) Other deposits are found in Brazil, Czech Republic, Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico, and Nevada and Idaho in the US.

The Folklore

It is Australia’s national gemstone. The Romans believed Opals were a symbol of hope and purity. The Arabs believed Opals came down from the heavens in flashes of lightning. They are believed to have psychic and mystical qualities giving flashes of insight and intuition. Birthstone for October.

The Aesthetics

Opals with bright, varied color with good contrast are a joy to work with and a joy to wear. In recent years, I have mounted several beautiful opals that clients have brought back from trips to Australia or acquired through inheritance. They are prone to scratching and breaking, so in a ring, they are best worn for special occasions, but in a necklace, they can become a wardrobe staple since the colors make it versatile.