Tag Archives: opals

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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Click here to view this opal jewelry.

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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Click here to view this opal jewelry.

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

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Click here to view this opal jewelry.

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

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Click here to view this opal jewelry.

 

Shop for your very own opals on Jewelry.com.

The Jewelry Insider

April 25, 2014

One word came to mind when visiting the Victoire de Castellane “Precious Objects jewelry exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery this past weekend. That word was “wow.” Shortly followed by, “Can we have just one of these beautiful pieces (pretty please)?” Then, “Can we try on at least one diamond ring?” To which the answer was yes! Imagine our excitement. We snapped some photos of our NYC jewelry excursion to share with you.
Victoire de Castellane Necklace
Victoire de Castellane Bracelets
Victoire de Castellane is a jewelry designer who lives and works in Paris. She made her first piece of jewelry at age five and moved on to design costume jewelry for Chanel at age fourteen (yes, you read that correctly). In 1998 Castellane joined Dior as the first Creative Director in their new jewelry department – her current role today.
Victoire de Castellane Bracelet, Front View
Victoire de Castellane Bracelet, Side View
Castellane’s “Precious Objects” exhibit, which is running now through next Saturday, April 26 at the Gagosian Gallery in NYC, tells a story of women under the influence of hallucinatory drugs. Each piece of jewelry is unique in its design, coloring, material, and texture. The exhibit showcases the most exquisite bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings in yellow and white gold, platinum, diamonds, jasper, rubies, opals, sapphires, emeralds, and fine stones (all the good things in life!).
Trying on a Victoire de Castellane Necklace
Trying on a Victoire de Castellane Ring

If you get the chance, go visit the Gagosian Gallery and take a look at the “Precious Objects” exhibit. You won’t be disappointed. Make a fun weekend outing out of it (Central Park is right around the corner)!

October Birthstone Banter


Opals are an often-overlooked gemstone option, but October birthday girls know you can never go wrong with this glittering gem. Here are some fun facts about the opulent little beauties, and a great idea on where to get some – at rock bottom prices.

It’s all about JewelClub you libras and scorpios (and the folks who love them). Visit this Friends and Family site here and enter the code INSIDER to get wholesale prices on some stunning opal gems. And they’ve got every fine jewelry category stocked if you want to go outside the birthstone box. Did I mention they have free shipping too? Happy Birthday to you!

Opal:The Queen of the Gems

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.