What you need to know about Opals
Opals are the snowflakes of the gemstone world. No two stones are alike. They make striking solitaires without design embellishment or a complement of opals make a stunning statement piece or custom design. Opals can come in enormous sizes, can be cut into any shape and come in literally any colour.
An Australian Opal is the most prized opal. Sadly many of our opals are shipped overseas as the opal experienced a momentary lapse in popularity. The best of our opals are beginning to stay in Australia again, as the most discerning buyers are returning their favour to this most captivating, distinctly individual gemstone.
When choosing an opal you are selecting a very unique stone with a fascinating story.
Opal has had a rich history. During the black plague opals were considered bad luck. An opal will shine brighter when wet. During the plague as people were ill, their opals would shine brighter as they became wet with their sweat. When they died, and the sweat dried, the opal would return to its normal colour.
Opal lovers will claim that diamond traders capitalised on this in an attempt to quash the stones popularity. Queen Victoria put quiet this bad PR for opals; her preference for opals restoring the stone to its prior popularity.
Opals come in all colours and plays of colours. Opals often have interacting colours, moving with the light, irregular veins, with masses and nodules of surprising and complimenting colours.
Diamonds are the hardest gemstone (it takes a diamond to cut a diamond) and rate 10/10 on the MOHS scale. Opals are 5.5-6.5 stronger than glass (5) and a little softer than Emerald (7.5-8). It is important when investing in an opal that you buy a solid stone (gem cut from one solid opal) and not a composite opal (layers of brilliantly coloured opals cleverly glued together). Composite stones are fragile and responsible for much of opal’s reputation of being a fragile gemstone. Composite stones are much, much cheaper; price is usually a good indication of this imposter.
Opals are an excellent choice as pendants and earrings if you plan on wearing them every day. An opal ring is not an everyday ring, due to its softer make up. Never clean an opal in an ultrasonic cleaner as the vibration may cause the opal to crack. Opals require a little respect; avoid harsh cleaners and manual jobs while wearing them (or use wearing them as an excuse to avoid harsh chemicals and manual jobs). Opals also love to be worn – opals over a long period of time may dry, causing the stone to become brittle. Wearing an opal exposes it to your skin's oils and will prevent this from occurring – avoid very high temperatures (like boiling) and very low humidity (like bank vaults).
Make an appointment to view our beautiful range of fine jewellery and vintage rings. Meet our Principal Designer to discuss Custom Making your dream ring, choosing from an extensive range of diamonds and gemstones. We believe there are more than enough diamonds, gemstones and precious metals already mined for our jewellery needs. We have amassed a staggeringly beautiful collection of recycled diamonds, gemstones, gold and other noble metals, all environmentally friendly and conflict fre