Opal Care and Information

opals

What is opal?:

Natural Opal is silicon oxide (in the form of closely packed aggregates of silica spheres) with a variable amount of water (between 5-15%). In precious opal the arrangement of spheres is in orderly layers, and light passing through the spheres is diffracted at the void and layer interface to produce the vivid play of color associated with opal. Larger silica spheres are associated with more sought after colors, such as red.

Opals in history:

In Twelfth Night Shakespeare referred to opal as “the queen of gems”. There is no way to accurately describe the finest opals: milky white background dotted with red, gold, purple, blue, and green; a dark night with rainbow lightning. Delicate and mysterious, opal has been treasures since ancient times for its unique beauty.

Opal lost much if its popularity in the 19th Century when Sir Walter Scott published a novel “Anne of Geierstein” (1829). In this book the heroine owned an opal that burned fiery red when she was angry and turned ashen gray upon her death. Sales of opals dropped after the book was published as acquired a superstition of being “bad luck”. The tendency of opal to crack spontaneously did not help the reputation of the opal. Queen Victoria finally helped quell this superstition by giving opal jewelry wedding presents to her relatives.

Opals are also the birthstone associated with October. If you are an “October baby” looking for birthstone gemstone jewelry, or just love to see miniature rainbows as your jewelry moves with you, then you have come to the right place!

If you are looking for birthstone or astrology information in general, the links page will provide you with more birthstone and astrology resources. Professionally generated astrology reports are available on the Professional Astrology Reports page. These include detailed natal (birth chart astrology), relationship compatibility (synastry, composite and/or davidson) reports, and predictive reports (based on transits). Reports are delivered via e-mail and include a free mini-report as well.

Opal Care – caring for your opal and opal jewelry:

Avoid extreme changes in temperature (like wearing an opal ring while cooking or baking and then putting that hand into the freezer) that could cause you opal to crack.

Avoid knocking or scraping jewelry set with solid opals. It is not advisable to wear your opal jewelry when playing sport, gardening and performing household tasks like washing dishes and showering.

Solid opal can be cleaned with a soft detergent in warm water using a soft cloth or brush. Once cleaned the opal should be rinsed in clean water to remove any residue. Doublets and triplets can be wiped with a damp soft cloth but should not be soaked.