Opal is a type of gemstone highly prized for its bountiful of colors and patterns. With its unique charm and enigmatic play of colors, opal jewelry has become highly popular both with gemstone collectors and jewelry lovers worldwide.
Opal is the birthstone for October, and many people associate it with modern design and a bohemian or alternative lifestyle. Opals come in diverse varieties, which makes it an all-encompassing gem present in different forms of jewelry. In this article, we’ll unlock the mysteries of opal jewelry and learn how to choose, care for, and wear this mesmerizing gemstone to its best effect.
1. Understanding Opal:
Opal is made from silica, and it has microscopic spheres inside it. These spheres work like prisms and can cause a rainbow of colors inside the stone. The color play is called “play of color,” and it is the most distinctive feature of opal. Some opals are crystal clear, while others are translucent or opaque.
There are mainly two primary types of opals – precious and common. Precious opals are the ones with the play of color, while common opals lack play-of-color. Precious opals get their color from the small size of their spheres that forms them, while common opals get their color from their impurities.
Some of the origin sites of opals include Australia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Mexico. Each of these regions produces different types of opals, some of which are highly sought after due to their rarity.
2. Choosing Opal Jewelry:
When choosing opal jewelry, there are several factors to consider, such as color play, transparency, and durability. The beauty of an opal depends on its play of color, the richer and more vivid it is, the more valuable the opal. The transparency of opal also plays a vital role in its value, with translucent to transparent opals being more prized than opaque ones.
Another point to consider when choosing opal jewelry is its durability. Since opal is a relatively soft gemstone, it can quickly get scratched, chipped, or cracked. Though expensive, Solid opal jewelry ensures a gemstone that will last longer and be less susceptible to damage.
3. Styles and Designs of Opal Jewelry:
Opals can be worn in different styles and designs of jewelry. Some popular pieces include opal rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Opal jewelry designs range from vintage styles to modern, minimalist designs.
Opals pair well with precious metals, including gold, silver, and platinum, and are renowned for its adaptability when it comes to blending with designs. For a statement piece, opals can be set as focal points surrounded by diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds to enhance their glow.
4. Caring for Opal Jewelry:
Opals require special care to maintain their luster and durability. Since they contain a lot of water, extreme temperatures can cause the gemstone to expand and contract, which can lead to cracks, so avoid subjecting them to sudden temperature changes.
Opals should be kept away from chemicals, including perfumes, hairspray, and cleaning solutions, as these can dull the stone’s color and corrode its surface over time. To clean an opal, use a soft toothbrush and warm water only.
When storing opals, keep them in a cool, dry place, and avoid storing them with other jewelry that could scratch or damage them. It is also advisable to store precious opals away from sunlight as it could cause dehydration which can eventually cause the stone to crack and fade.
Opal jewelry is the epitome of charm and mystery. Its play-of-colors gives it an ethereal quality that is second to none. When selecting opal jewelry, consider factors such as color play, transparency, durability, and design, and remember to care for it properly to ensure its longevity.
With proper care and attention to detail, opal jewelry can maintain its beauty for generations. So, if you’re looking for a gemstone jewelry that will turn heads and add uniqueness to your collection, opal jewelry is the perfect choice.