October Birthstone - Opal

October Birthstone - Opal

Clarity Blog

Did you Know...


This is a stone that has been highly regarded since the time of the ancient Greeks because it symbolizes purity and hope.  The ancient Romans also considered it as an excellent protector against harm and danger.  The name ‘Opal’ is derived from the Greek word opallios, which means ‘to see a change in color’.

Opal’s distinctive play of color was explained when a group of scientists discovered that it’s made up of microscopic silica spheres that diffract light and display different colors of the rainbow.

Opals come in three natural varieties

Opalescent precious opal, fire opal (yellow to red-orange) and the generally opaque common opal.  Most opals are sedimentary in nature--that is, they are created from the layers laid down by ancient waterways. Opals are found in the veins and cavities of igneous or sedimentary rock.

Ethiopian Opals

Ethiopian opals, are hydrophane opals, created as a result of volcanic activity, forming in nodules within the volcanic ash in stratum between rhyolite layers.
"Hydrophane" comes from the Greek words meaning "water-loving," and describes how these opals tend to absorb water. Water absorption can alter the appearance of Ethiopian opal, changing the stone from opaque or semi-translucent to highly translucent and almost transparent!

The high cost and fragility of opals mean the stone is rarely faceted. The ones you see on my website have no faceting, but the smooth finish shows off the beautiful colors inside.

Care of Opals

Opals are a soft, porous stone that is sensitive to environmental factors such as heat and moisture. While Ethiopian opal is slightly more durable to sudden surface shocks (accidental bumps), the gem is still vulnerable. Never, ever run an opal - even an Ethiopian opal - through a steamer or ultrasonic cleaner!

Don’t wear your opals in the shower, while swimming, using cleaning agents, applying perfume, using a hair dryer or other temperature and chemical exposures.

Sources: https://meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com, https://www.firemountaingems.com/


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