October commemorates opal, a multi-colored gem that often gets a bad stigma, as this month’s birthstone. Opal catches incoming light, separates it into individual color wavelengths, and flashes every color of the rainbow back to your eye. It is not as hard as a quartz is, but does take a nice polish!
Since opal can emit so many colors, people in ancient India called opal, “ the Goddess of the Rainbow”, whom they said had been turned into stone. The Romans also held opal in high esteem. In Australia, however, the ancient Aborigines had a negative mystique about opal. The Aborigines considered opal to be half-serpent and half-devil and thought opal’s colors were an attempt to lure them to the devil’s lair.
They believed that the color in opals was from the rainbow, which the Thunder spirit had destroyed and
broken into many pieces that were now inside the opal. What sometimes will cloud opal’s reputation are its physical shortcomings.
Some opal do have a tendency to crack, especially if it’s allowed to dry out. If it absorbs oils, the color of the opal can become dim, or even completely lost. Since people have been unable to explain such changes in the composition of the stone, it’s only natural that some might interpret them as a bad omen. Opal forms when a solution rich in the necessary ingredients finds itself in an undisturbed environment.
The most important condition for opal’s formation is a dormant environment. Most precious opal begins to form when certain volcanoes erupt high-silica ash. This lava forms rhyolite rocks and the ejected ash ends up as layers of porous, high-silica rock sometimes called“tuff”.
It is sometimes so hot when it lands in water that it welds together becoming welded tuff. When this falls into a sea or a shallow lake, the rock settles to the bottom and as time passes, the high-silica deposits harden as they are exposed to dry land, setting the stage for opal to develop.
Designer Jewels has a wide array of loose opals in stock. We’re able to polish opals that you already
own to make them look brand new and can repair any opal jewelry. Feel free to
also have one of our talented jewelers assist you in creating a custom design. Some examples of jewelry
that have made with opals as well as some of the loose opals we have in stock are
included in this website.