Shining Opal: 10 amazing facts about the most beautiful precious mineral
A lot of legends and superstitions were laid about this stone, they were afraid and searched for magical powers in it. The Bedouins believed that lightning was enclosed in it, and the Romans considered the most beautiful of all precious stones. What is really opal? Why does he attract people so much and what secrets does he hide?
Opals appeared about 70 million years ago in the area of modern Australia. It was then that the Earth experienced the strongest rainfall, given the fact that before that there was a terrible drought, then there were many cracks on the ground. It is in them that the water with dissolved raindrops of silica has flowed. In the process, the cracks filled and hardened, and beautiful minerals were formed in them, inside of which, like a rainbow.
Few people know, but in the world there are many variations of opal. It can have different shades and patches, in it (as in amber) it is often found inclusions – insects, other minerals and particles. The color palette is striking in its diversity, today black, white, green, brown, orange, blue, red and yellow opals are distinguished.
Virtually all jewelry stones require cutting; only opals do not need it. But why? After all, the faceting reveals the most beautiful sides of the stone; without it, a diamond looks like a foggy piece of glass. With disgrace, the situation is completely different, it is beautiful in itself, it is only necessary to give it a form to insert into a piece of jewelry.
All stones are still classified by hardness, it is determined according to the Mohs scale, where mark 10 indicates high density and strength of the mineral. Opal also belongs to the group of medium softness (5 on the Mohs scale), so it is not suitable for inlaying small jewelry, for example, standard wedding rings. With its softness, the mineral is not fragile, since water is often included in it.
Now it’s hard to believe, but in the 19th century, European jewelers avoided working with opal. It seemed to them that such a perfect and beautiful material could not be natural, that nature was not capable of creating such a stone. Many even tended to think that opals are the result of magical manipulations.
All opals are beautiful in themselves, but experts still highlight the most expensive of the currently available minerals. These include black and blue opals, in which luminous patches stand out most clearly. They can refract and play with flashes of red, green and golden hues. Such opals are mined in Australia.
The fashion for opals has been observed in the last ten years. Prior to this, they were used infrequently in the higher jewelry art. First of all, because they are difficult to work with, small ornaments cannot be made from them. Secondly, for a long time there were legends that opals bring misfortune. Since 2018, the Cartier jewelry house has presented large opal jewelry. From that very moment, a real boom began on these minerals, one after another, brands began to include opals in their collections. Today, opals of various shades in a trend, which exactly coincides with the trend for large jewelery.
Mexican opals are called fiery, because of their beautiful orange and yellow color. They seemed to absorb all the warmth of the country where they are mined. In fact, stones get this shade due to iron oxide. Many believe that such stones contribute to stamina and courage, some consider them sources of energy.
Ethiopian opals can also be orange and yellow, but they have more color inclusions. For example, such stones can sparkle with flashes of brown, red, green, yellow, and even blue. By the way, opals with blue patches are considered very rare and expensive.
Noble and ordinary
Interestingly, not all opals are suitable for jewelry, especially if we are talking about higher jewelry. The fact is that these mysterious minerals are divided into noble and ordinary. Noble ones are notable for their special beauty, they fluoresce, have deep shades and are well suited for jewelry. Ordinary ones do not have a play of light, after special grinding they are used as an ornamental material.
We also made a review of 10 amazing jewels, which are striking in their beauty. They are definitely worth a look!