Discover the Magic of Opal Jewelry
For centuries, the ethereal beauty of opals has inspired awe and fascination in people around the world. Its mesmerizing play of color and fire has made it a sought-after gemstone for jewelry enthusiasts, makers and collectors for ages. Opals are unique and beautiful, in the sense that they reflect a variety of colors, which can be seen upon its surface. Its mesmerizing properties have given the stone an almost mystical reputation, and in recent years, the stone’s popularity has sky-rocketed due to its endless beauty and versatility.
Opal jewelry has become a fashionable trend in the jewelry industry, with its unique colors, shapes, and brightness it’s the perfect gemstone for any occasion. In this article, we will delve into the mesmerizing world of opal jewelry, what makes it so unique and special, and how to choose the right piece for you or your loved ones.
What is opal jewelry?
Opal jewelry is any jewelry item that features opals as the primary or secondary gemstone. The pieces may include rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other styles of jewels that feature opals as the centerpiece or set in precious metals such as gold, silver, or platinum. The opal’s iridescence and fire create a unique look that makes it stand out from other stones and enhances the beauty and elegance of any piece of jewelry.
The history of opal jewelry
Opals have been appreciated since ancient times due to their beauty and unique coloring. Ancient civilizations believed that opals brought good luck and riches to the wearer. In fact, the ancient Romans even called it “opalus” which meant “precious stone”. Later in the 19th and 20th centuries, opals became a popular gemstone that was frequently used in jewelry.
Opal jewelry became very popular in the late 19th century when an Australian discovery of high-quality opals was made. This caused a bout of opal fever, which spread rapidly throughout the world and eventually helped opals gain popularity in the United States.
Opal jewelry is still incredibly popular, and you can find a range of stunning pieces online, in catalogs, and in local jewelry stores.
What makes opals so special?
Opals have a unique composition that sets them apart from other types of gemstones. They are composed of a series of tiny silica spheres arranged in a regular pattern. These spheres cause the diffraction and interference of light, causing the gemstone to reflect light in an iridescent manner. The result is a colorful and mesmerizing look that changes with the direction and intensity of light, creating a beautiful variety of colors and hues.
Opals are also composed of water, which can make them susceptible to damage and cracking if exposed to too much heat or dry conditions. While this can make the stone tricky to handle, it also makes opals incredibly unique and special.
Types of opals
There are several types of opals, and each has its own unique properties and value.
1. White opals – White opals are the most common type of opal found in jewelry stores. They tend to have a white or light gray body color with a play of colors that is subtle and muted.
2. Black opals – Black opals are the rarest and most valuable type of opal. They have a black or dark body color with a play of colors that is intense and vivid.
3. Boulder opals – Boulder opals are found in Australia and tend to be larger and more solid than other types of opals. They have a matrix of ironstone, which gives them a unique look and makes them more durable.
4. Crystal opals – Crystal opals are transparent or semi-transparent with a play of colors that is bright and bold. They are highly valued and sought after by collectors.
5. Fire opals – Fire opals are a type of opal that is found in Mexico. They are transparent or translucent with a bright orange, red, or yellow body color.
How to choose opal jewelry
When choosing opal jewelry, there are several factors to keep in mind. These include:
1. The type of opal – As we’ve discussed, there are several types of opals, each with their own unique look and value. Consider the type of opal you prefer and what factors are most important to you, such as rarity or vibrancy of color.
2. The quality of the opal – Opals can vary in quality, with some stones being more vibrant and durable than others. Look for opals with a high level of color play and minimal cracks or blemishes.
3. The setting – The setting of the opal can greatly affect its appearance and durability. Choose a setting that will protect the stone while enhancing its natural beauty.
4. The metal – The metal used in the setting can also affect the appearance and value of opal jewelry. Gold and platinum are more durable and valuable than silver, but silver can offer a more affordable option for those on a budget.
Caring for your opal jewelry
Opals are beautiful but can be delicate due to their high water content. Here are some tips for caring for your opal jewelry:
1. Store your opals in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or sources of heat.
2. Avoid exposing your opals to water or chemicals, as they can damage the stone.
3. Use a soft cloth to clean your opal jewelry, and avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.
4. Have your opal jewelry checked by a professional jeweler periodically to ensure it is in good condition.
Opal jewelry is a unique and special addition to any collection. With its beautiful and mesmerizing play of color, opals are a standout gemstone that has been admired for centuries. When choosing opal jewelry, consider the type of opal, its quality, and the setting and metal. With proper care and attention, opal jewelry can last for generations and bring endless joy and beauty to those who wear it.