The Opal is a precious stone and a firm favourite for us here at The Jewellery Set. We love its contrast and its ability to offer such contrasting colours.
For many people, the opal is blue or a white colour, but this little stone comes in an amazing range of colours that may surprise you.
Opal is a type of silica and it contains water.
The word itself is possibly derived from the Sanskrit word - upala - which means jewel.
There are two classes of opal. The precious and the common. The former, is known for it's irridescent qualities, while the common is perhaps more plain. This play of colour is what gives opal a reflecting behaviour, with flashes of coloured light from the minerals within it. It's all about the light with opal and how it refracts, which must make this one of the most amazing stones in the world.
Depending on how it has formed, opal can be transparent, translucent and opaque and unbelievably perhaps, it can taken on virtually any colour of the spectrum, with black opal (yes it exists) considered to be rarest of all.
For use in jewellery, gemstones most opal is cut and polished, which forms a kind of cabochon, this is what you often see in true opal jewellery.
History of Opal
In Europe and actually many areas of the world, Opal was rare and extremely valuable but in the 19th Century, Australia mining opened up considerable opal deposits, which is why it is actually the gemstone of Australia. It is still mined to this very day, with some opals fetching thousands of dollars depending on their quality.
Birthdays and Beliefs
The Opal is the gemstone for an October birthday.
In the Middle Ages, opal was often considered to be very lucky indeed and amazingly, it was believed to grant invisibility if it was wrapped in a humble bay leaf and held in one's hand.
Outside of all the opal talk, it's a very beautiful gemstone for jewellery, with earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings and pendants all benefitting from it's gorgeous reflective qualities.
Take a look at our Opal Collection for some of our inspiring pieces.