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Opal - October's Birthstone
Types of Opal
How to Make a Killing Selling Beads
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The name Opal could have came from many places. In Greek “opallios”, translates as “color change”, and to the ancient Romans “opalus”, was a stone from several elements. Pliny, a Roman author, wrote that opal combines the sparkle of Almandine, the shining purple of Amethyst, the golden yellow of Topaz, and the deep blue of Sapphire.
Types of Opal
Fine opals shine and sparkle in a continually changing play of colors called “opalising”. Depending on the rock and location they have names like Harlequin, Peacock, Mexican, and Fire Opal. Most opal has this play of colors except “Common Opal”, a name give to all others, like Pink Opal. Because demand outstrips supply, fine opalizing opal is very very expensive, so is sold in individual beads for hundreds of US dollars each. Therefore, the type of opal common in necklaces is non-opalizing opal – usually pink opal from Peru (more below).
Opal’s fantasy-like play of color is caused by small spheres of silica creating interference and refraction manifestations. The spheres, which are arranged in compact structures, dissect light through the gemstone, turning it into the rainbow effect, always new and different. return to top
How to Value Opal
The most important criterion for determining the price of fine opal is the play of color, the colors themselves and their pattern. If red appears when looking through the stone, all the other colors will also. Value also depends on body color, transparency, and original location. Body color can be black, dark or light, or colored. Black Opal or a dark grey body has the most brilliant play of color. Black Opal from Lightning Ridge or Mexican Fire Opal is the best. Crystal opal, is the next best, and should be more transparent with a deep play of color. White or milky opals show more diffuse color and are the cheapest.
To best bring out the play of color in a fine opal, the stones are cut and polished to round or oval cabochons, or any other softly domed shape. Only the best qualities of Fire Opal are suited to faceting. The opal cutter removes any impurities using a diamond cutting wheel, before working out the rough basic shape, fine cutting, and finishing with sandpaper and polishing with a wet leather wheel.
How does Opal Effect You?
Opal is thought to solve depression and to help its wearer find true love. Opals are supposed to enhance the positive characteristics for people born under the sign of Cancer. With Black Opal recommended to Scorpios and Boulder Opal for Aries. The opalizing effect reflects changing emotions and moods of people. People prefer different opals for different moods. Opals are like human emotions: each type creates different feelings. return to top
Peruvian Opal comes in faint pink, light blue and light mint-green tones. From the Andes Mountains near San Patricio, Peru, just like the name implies. Although native South Americans have been using the stone for more than a thousand years, it only became widely available commercially within the last decade or so. It is usually translucent to opaque with no play of color and often has lots of black and tan dendrites. Most Peruvian Opal beads are semi-opaque to opaque. Peruvian opal’s metaphysical properties are similar to other opals. Helping to intensify your traits and characteristics and deepening your personal understanding. Peruvian Opal in particular is used to activate the heart charka and to assist you during spiritual journeys.
Looking after Opal
Due to 2 to 6% water, opals easily become brittle and if stored too dry or exposed to heat over a longer period of time, they will show fissures and the play of color will fade. Therefore, Opal jewelry should be worn as often as possible, for then the gemstone will receive the needed humidity from the air and from the skin of its wearer. In earlier days opal’s sensitive surface was oiled, but today they are sealed with clear resin.
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