Tag Archives: Opal

Alluring Opal: 4 Fun Facts About October’s Birthstone

October is here and opal season is in full swing! Check out these four fun facts about October’s alluring birthstone, opal.

1) Thousands of years ago, rulers placed opals in their crowns for protection. Today, opals are believed to bring about happiness and inspiration.


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2) Opals are formed from silicon dioxide and water, so it’s safe to say opals are formed by rain! As water runs down the earth and evaporates, it leaves behind silica that dries out and creates beautiful opals.


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3) The different colors you see in opals are from the silica spheres, which refract light and create colors.


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4) In 2008, NASA discovered opal deposits on Mars!


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The Opal Trend: October’s Birthstone

Forget brightly colored ROYGBIV hair, opal is in! Just in time for October, opal is the color you want to be wearing. Think light pinks, blues, purples, and greens. Read on to learn a little more about the history and meaning of October’s birthstone opal.


Opal is made of silica and water (who knew?). When running water trickles down the earth it may pick up silica and sandstone, and leave behind silica deposits when the water evaporates. As this process continues, opal is formed.

Opal comes in many different hues such as white, gray, black, brown, blue, green, yellow, red, pink, orange, and more.


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– The Romans believed opal was a good luck stone because it included the color of each gemstone.

Opal is said to help medical conditions and promote good health.

Opal is known to inspire creativity and imagination, and increase self-esteem and confidence.

– Opal is believed to be an “emotional” stone that helps wearers interpret feelings, think positively, and release inhibitions.


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The Jewelry Insider

October 9, 2008

Every once in a while, we like to bring a little jewelry learnin’ to the table for our dedicated readers. If you or someone you love was born in October, here is the full rundown on the history of the month’s opulant birthstone – the Opal. Enjoy!


Opal, the birthstone for October, is one of nature’s most prized gems. The stone – which also happens to be the recommended jewelry gift for couples celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary – was mined by eastern Europeans, the Aztecs and the ancient tribes of Central Africa. Opals have been featured in the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor and the crown jewels of France. They were mentioned in the plays of Shakespeare and the novels of Sir Walter Scott. Napoleon gave an opal to Josephine. Queen Victoria gave them out as wedding gifts.

One of the reasons this gem has been so revered is because of its supposed mystical powers. Scandinavian women wore opals in their hair to prevent it from going gray. The Arabs thought opal would ward off lightning and grant invisibility to its wearer. Other powers ascribed to the gem include the ability to grant vigor, aid the heart and kidneys and protect against fainting and infection.

Worshipped by the Romans as a symbol of hope, fidelity, purity and good luck, opal is sometimes called the “queen of gems” because the stone can flash patterns of color representing every hue of the rainbow.

This “play of color” is one of opal’s signature characteristics. The gem is found in a range of hues, including white opal (the most common); black opal; “boulder” opal (black opal with iron oxide); crystal or water opal, which is transparent; and fire opal, which has a yellow to orange to red body color.

The vast majority of the world’s opal supply comes from Australia. Black opal is the rarest variety and therefore the most valuable. White opal is also mined in Brazil. Fire and crystal opal can be found in the United States (Nevada) and Mexico.

Brilliance of color and color pattern are critical in determining the value of opal. Opals with strong flashes of red fire are generally the most prized. Stones with blue or green flashes are more common and subsequently less valuable. Stone size also helps determine price, since the gem is very rare in larger sizes. Prices can vary from a few dollars per carat for common white opal to more than $1,000 per carat for fine black opal. Most stones are not faceted and usually cut into rounded cabochons to enhance color play.

Perfect natural opals are extremely rare and expensive. Many are treated to enhance their appearance. One common technique is to place the opal in a sugar solution and then in sulfuric acid, which blackens body color and makes the play of color more pronounced. Other treatments include applications of colorless oil, wax and resin, plastic, or synthetic resins and hardeners to fill cracks and improve durability.

With a hardness of approximately 5.5 on the Mohs scale, opal is relatively fragile, and care should be taken not to scratch, chip or crack it. To clean opal, use a soft cloth moistened with olive oil. Do not use chemical or mechanical cleaners. Also, avoid heat and dry conditions that could dehydrate and crack the stone.