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Opal Gemstone | Everything You Need to Know

limz Published On Fri Jan 24 2020   Modified On Fri Jan 24 2020
Opal Gemstone | Everything You Need to Know

Along with Tourmaline, Opal is the birthstone of October and the zodiac stone of Libra. Traditionally, these stones are given as a gift on the 14th wedding anniversary. These beautiful stones are the national gemstone of Australia.

Throughout the world, Opal is mostly known for its magnificent beauty and color. These stones symbolize love, peace, passion, loyalty, and positivity.

Let us learn more about the October birthstone, Opal.

Meaning 

Opal is typically a semi-transparent gemstone and a hydrated amorphous form of silica. It is an eye-catching stone with a spectrum of colors. Australia is one of the largest producers of Opal that produces almost 95% of these stones. Around 6-10% of water is present in most of these stones that are produced in Australia. Throughout history, these stones are widely valued by the people.

Why is the Opal Birthstone of October?

The people born in October are mostly calm, confident, passionate, and loyal. They know how to encourage the people around you and the surroundings are always cheerful when they are around. These beautiful traits make Tourmaline fitting to be the birthstone of October. 

Origin and History

Fire Opal Stone Ring.
Image Source: Catchy Store

Opal was derived from the Greek word "opallios" which means "precious stone". The deposits of these stones were first discovered by Louis Leakey in a cave in Kenya. Most of the geologists believe that these stones originated from Ethiopia around 4000 BC.

For a long period, people from all over the world believed that Opal was an evil stone and it will bring bad luck. The market of these stones went down but when Black Opal was discovered in Australia, the market of these stones finally recovered. 

Formation Process

The formation of Opal takes a large amount of time. Heavy rainfall causes the silica from sandstone to fall into rock crevices. After the water finishes evaporating, only silica gel remains. It will take a million years for the silica gel to harden and after it hardens, Opal is formed.

Formula

The chemical formula of Opal is Hydrated Silica (SiO₂·nH₂O). These stones have a hardness of 5.5-6 according to the Mohs scale and it has sub-vitreous to waxy luster.

Types

  • White Opal
  • Black Opal
  • Fire Opals
  • Crystal Opals
  • Blue Opals
  • Pink Opals
  • Tricolor Opals

Colors Available

Natural Multi-Colored Opal.
Image Source: Pinterest
  • Colorless
  • White
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Pink
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Orange
  • Red
  • Green

Mines Available

  • Big Opal Underground Mine, Lightning Ridge, Australia
  • Royal Peacock Opal Mine, Nevada, US
  • Lambina Opal Field, Lambina, Australia

Cost Per Carat

World's Largest Opal - Olympic Australis.
World's Largest Opal - Olympic Australis.
Image Source: Ed Trayes Photography Archives at Temple University

The value of an Opal depends on many factors like - cut, size, brilliance, play of color, body tone, and faults. The price of these stones can range from $600-$1000. Black Opal is the most prized Opal and its value can be over $10000. 

In 1956, the world's largest opal "Olympic Australis" was found in Coober Pedy, South Australia that weighs 17,000 carats. The world's most valuable Black Opal "The Aurora Australis" was found at Lightning Ridge in 1938. The estimated value of this stone is $1,000,000.

Uses 

  • Mostly, Opals are used as gemstones for jewelry like - necklace, ring, bracelet, and earrings.
  • These stones are also used as abrasives, insulation media, fillers, and ceramic ingredients.

Spiritual Properties

  • Opal helps to increase one's will to live, stimulate intuition, encourages freedom, heighten creativity, and purify thoughts.
  • These stones also help to intoxicate the blood, aid fever and headache, and improve digestion.
  • It encourages the wearer to claim self-worth, helps to reduce fear, stress, and anxiety, induce psychic vision, and balance emotions.

Facts

Martian Opal.
Martian Opal.
Image Source: Natural History Museum
  • Opal has also been found on Mars which is known as "Martian Opal".
  • Almost 95% of the world's Opal is produced in Australia.
  • In a basic manner, Opal is formed from water and silica.
  • One of the word's rarest and most expensive Opal is "The Virgin Rainbow".

Jewelry Stores Near You

  • Australian Opal Jewelry, Windsor, Australia
  • Zales Corporation, Irving, Texas, USA
  • The Fine Jewellery Company, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Online Stores