The Truth about Opal


While many gemstones are prized for their positive qualities, no gem has endured more vilification over the centuries than the opal. In medieval times, it was maligned for its resemblance to the Evil Eye, its alleged use by witches and sorcerers, and its overall "bad luck" that it could inflict upon the wearer. Even in the 1890s, diamond merchants continued to stoke the myths about opals being bad luck, which may have been due to the difficulty jewelers had working with the beautiful but soft gemstone: on the Moh's Hardness Scale, opals are a 5.5 whereas diamonds are a 10

Structurally Speaking

Opal is a silicon dioxide, which is a common material found worldwide. The unique quality about the stone is the "fire" or flash of color that is present. There are two types of opal: Common Opal and Precious Opal.

Types of Opal

The "Common Opal" is one that exhibits a pearl-like or translucent luster, and is generally of little value. The rare "Precious Opal" has a brilliant splash of color--yellow, orange, green, blue, red, or purple--which can vary in color intensity, pattern, and ability to be seen from any angle.

Australia is where 90% of precious opal is mind. Other locations include Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Guatamala, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, the United States, and Zambia.

Opals can consist entirely of opal material alone (Solid Opal) but often opals form in the voids and fractures of a "host rock." Such opals are called "Boulder Opals."

The Mountain Gypsy carries a wide variety of opal jewelry (earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets, and necklaces) including Australian solid opal, pink opal, Peruvian opal, Mexican fire opal, Boulder opal, and purple opal, all of which are natural and set in sterling silver.

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