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October and Opals

Hello, wonderful customers and friends of H & A International Jewelry! It has been a while since we last chatted, hasn’t it? Where has the year gone? We are already well into October, folks. The seasons are changing from luscious and green to crisp and earthy. With all of the colors seen in nature this season, it makes sense that one of autumn’s most unique birthstones is opal! Opal, which is October's birthstone, is known for its unique play of color making it an intriguing gemstone. Its colorful and color-changing nature pays homage to the start of autumn.

There is no way one can mistake opal for something else. When held against the sunlight, the gemstone looks like a little miniature disco ball in between your fingers. The amazing color patterns in opals are the result of how they form. In short, the mixture of silicon dioxide and water creates opals. As the mixture runs through sandstone, it picks up silica in the sandstone. Silica is left behind when the mixture evaporates. Over a long period of time, the silica deposits will build up and form the beautiful opal. There are MANY types of opals. Listed below are just a few:

  • White Opals: An opal that is a base white with play of color

  • Crystal Opals: Transparent to semi-transparent body with a strong play of color

  • Black and Grey Opals: Opal that has a black, dark blue or gray play of color. Almost all black opals come from Australia.

  • Boulder Opal: Opal with dark base and color occurring in matrix rocks.

  • Jelly Opal: Transparent opal with a little play of color.

  • Fire Opal: Opal that is transparent to semi-transparent with red, yellow or orange to brown body color. This type of opal can be with or without play of color. Also known as Mexican Opal.

With so many different types of opals to choose from, you’d think people would be wearing opal all the time. Only recently, though, has opal started gaining popularity. All throughout history, there have been gemstones that have gained a negative reputation and opals have been part of this ill-fated group. Medieval Europeans dreaded the opal because of its resemblance to "the Evil Eye”. Old wives’ tales are told about opal’s unlucky nature. For example, engagement rings must never contain an opal or else the new bride will quickly become a widow. Some say you should never wear opal if you were not born in October or you will have bad luck. However, times are changing and the old superstitions are nothing but silly myths we tell to disturb each other. People are not taking the tales seriously and enjoying every bit of the beautiful and intriguing gemstone.

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