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Opals

The name Opal is believed to have come from India from where the first opals were brought to the Western world.

In Sanskrit Opals were called upala, a “precious stone." . In ancient Rome, the name became opalus.

Most opals are valued for their shifting colors in rainbow hues – a phenomenon known as “play-of-color.”

The October birthstone’s dramatic play-of-color has inspired writers to compare it to fireworks, galaxies and volcanoes.

Bedouins  once believed that the opal held lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. Ancient Greeks thought opals bestowed the gift of prophesy and protection from disease. Europeans long maintained opal to be a symbol of purity, hope and truth. Hundreds of years ago, opal was believed to embody the virtues and powers of all colored stones.

Opal is also the stone given to celebrate the 14th wedding anniversary.

Opals are found in many places around the world including Australia which is the most productive. Lightning Ridge in New South Wales produces the black opal, white opals are found in the White Cliffs area of NSW as well as South Australia and Boulder Opal comes from only one location in the world, Queensland.

You may have heard about Opal doublets or triplets. These are fine slices of opal glued to a base material and then covered with a thin clear quartz. Even natural opal can fracture if exposed to high heat or sudden temperature changes so it is advisable to store opals by themselves and not to place them close to harder gems such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

A stunning opal can be a dramatic piece of jewellery.

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