Opals are a stone like no other. With brilliant flashes of color, opals are one of my favorite stones. So, below is a crash course about opals, the birthstone for October. Mainly found in Australia, opals are also mined in Mexico, South America, Ethiopia, and the U.S.
Although gemologists do not grade opals, they are classified into 5 main categories:
- "White or light opal: Translucent to semi-translucent, with play-of-color against a white or light gray background color, called body-color.
- Black opal: Translucent to opaque, with play-of-color against a black or other dark background.
- Fire opal: Transparent to translucent, with brown, yellow, orange, or red body color. This material—which often doesn’t show play-of-color—is also known as 'Mexican opal.'
- Boulder opal: Translucent to opaque, with play-of-color against a light to dark background. Fragments of the surrounding rock, called matrix, become part of the finished gem.
- Crystal or water opal: Transparent to semitransparent, with a clear background. This type shows exceptional play-of-color." (Source: GIA)
Energetically, opal is a stone of love and wisdom. In ancient times, Romans regarded opals as the most precious because of the play-of-color. Ancient Greeks believe it gave them powers of prophecy and protected them from disease.
Some people believe that it is unlucky to wear an opal if it is not the person's birthstone. This superstition comes from a novel written in the 1800's, Anne of Gierstein by Sir Walter Scott.
I have a lot of opals that are ready to be made into a custom piece just for you. Interested? Call me for more info!