Opal is one of the birthstones for October and it is the gemstone for the 14th wedding anniversary. It is a seductive stone and is allegedly able to intensify emotional states and release inhibitions which is why the opal is often associated with desire and eroticism along with love and passion. Besides that, opal purportedly acts as an emotional stabilizer too. In addition to this, wearing an opal is also said to bring about loyalty and faithfulness.

This beautiful gemstone is a hydrated variety of amorphous silica. It has water content that may range 3% - 21% by weight. It is without a crystalline structure, and without the "ordered atomic structure" and this is makes an opal a "mineraloid" rather than a mineral because it does not have a definite chemical composition.

Opals come in a kaleidoscope of colors and are categorized into two general categories which consists of Precious opals and Common opals. What are the differences between the two? Precious opal displays play-of-color whereas Common opal lacks these colorful flashes. The Common opal is also sometimes referred to as "potch".
Play-of-color is the shifting of colors in rainbow hues that opals are known for. Play-of-color appears in precious opal because it is made up of a three dimensional array of microscopic silica spheres stacked in a grid-like pattern like layers of tiny balls in a box. When light waves travel through these silica spheres, the light waves bend. As they bend, they break up into the colors of the rainbow, called spectral colors and the end result is a play-of-color.
There are many types of opals. Some of them include the white/light opal, black opal, fire opal, boulder opal and crystal/water opal. Each have their own characteristics and these lovely gems may appear opaque, translucent, semi-transparent and sometimes, transparent.  Of all the aforementioned opals, the fire opal, also known as Mexican Opal is the only one that does not project a play-of-color but is well known for its vivacious colors like yellow, orange, red and brown.
Opal is a very popular gemstone and is known to be favored by royalty. The British Royal family are a good example of notable royals known for wearing opals. It is said that Queen Victoria of England wore opals at every diplomatic meeting to direct attention to promote the mining of opals, opal jewelry production and trade of opals. 

 Les Plaisirs De Birks Yellow Gold and Opal Earrings worn by the Duchess of Sussex 

Even the Duchess of Sussex (Meghan Markle) chose to wear opal earrings for her engagement photo session with Prince Harry back in November 2017. The Duchess of Sussex looked absolutely lovely wearing small statement opal earrings by Maison Birks. They are 18-carat gold with opals in the center and is estimated to cost around $995. 

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) states that the three main aspects of an opal's quality are: 

1) Color - Background color and play-of-color

2) Pattern - Arrangement of play-of-color (shifting colors in rainbow hues)

3) Clarity - Transparency and quantity of inclusions

Besides that, the quality of the cut and polish, the type of opal, body tone, brilliance and color bar thickness, as well as the size of the stone also plays a role in determining its value. The Australian black opal, which is known to be the most prized opal, is one of the most expensive gemstones in the world. High-quality black opal can cost up to $10,000 per carat. The Ethiopian Welo opal on the other hand commands a lower price range of $10 - $250 per carat but is more durable in resisting breakage compared to all other opals. The reason its price is on the lower range is because there is a large quantity of Ethiopian opal available and this has kept the price relatively low.

Where it comes from: Australia, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, Central Europe, Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Peru, Turkey, United States

Hardness: 5 - 6.5


Care: Opals can be fragile so extra care should be taken when cleaning or storing them. The safest way to clean Opals are with warm, soapy water. Other methods of cleaning including using an ultrasonic cleaner may damage opals.

All prices quoted are in USD.

Do you own Opal jewelry? Share how you have been taking care of it and whether you would get more. Or if you have more questions, just leave it in the comment section below :) We'll be super happy to help!

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