Opals Allow You to Wear the Rainbow
The Gem Collection features opals, the stone that stuns with a spectrum of colors
Opals are the only stone that can show you all of the colors of the rainbow. This kaleidoscope gem catches the eye and holds it, bringing new fascination with each tilt. The hues are rich and so are the origins of this fascinating jewel.
Opals are romantically described as fossilized raindrops. Opals are formed through rain and water that travel into rock crevices and evaporate, hardening to silica, which eventually forms into opals. As a result, opals are 10% water.
Coming from the earth, opals have long symbolized luck. In Roman times, opals were carried as good-luck charms. In the 17th century, opals were highly treasured because their rainbow façade represented magical properties. Shakespeare called them the miracle gem.
Briefly, opals fell on a bit of bad luck when, in 1829, Sir Walter Scott published a novel, Anne of Geierstein, which made a parallel between opals and the paranormal. In the novel, a female wore an opal hairclip, and when holy water touched it, she died. Most look past this fictional tale allured by the beauty and uniqueness of the gem.
Gem-quality opals are most commonly found in Australia with a small amount in Ethiopia. Opals are one of the softer gems, but Australian opals are more durable. While Ethiopian opals are less durable, they are less expensive and often more colorful. Another opal option is a doublet, which is made by slicing a natural opal and adhering it to a dark stone to further illuminate the colors of the opal.
Dorothy Vodicka, co-owner of The Gem Collection, shares that rings and pendants are the most popular opal jewelry they sell. The stone looks stunning in both white and yellow gold, but the opalescent nature is especially apparent in yellow.
When selecting an opal, be diligent in your search, inspecting it via magnifying glass or relying on a trusted jeweler to make sure it’s not cracked or scratched. Hold it to the light, tilting it to take in its full vividness to ensure the entire surface is brilliant without any cloudiness.
In caring for your opal, remember that they are delicate. Being born from water, they do not do well in dry or airtight spaces, such as a lock box or safe. They need air to preserve their water content, keeping them vibrant.
Although they like air and water, it is not advised that you wear them in the ocean or the pool as salt, sand and chemicals can wear them down. It’s also wise to apply makeup, hair and body spray before donning your opals.
“Although opals are the birthstone for October many people, regardless of birth month, love opals for their beautiful array of colors,” said Vodicka. “They are much like wearable rainbows.”