Fireworks. Jellyfish. Galaxies. Lightning. Opal’s shifting play of kaleidoscopic colors is unlike any other gem.
Because opal has the colors of other gems, the Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all. The Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. When Australia’s mines began to produce opals commercially in the 1890s, it quickly became the world’s primary source for this October birthstone.
Grids of silica spheres 0.2 microns in size create red play-of-color flashes.
Opal contains up to 20% water trapped in its silica structure.
The novel “Anne of Geierstein” gave opal a reputation of being unlucky.
There are processes used to alter the color, apparent clarity, or improve the durability of gems. Some gemstones have synthetic counterparts that have essentially the same chemical, physical, and optical properties, but are grown by man in a laboratory.
Opal is an October birthstone.