Things Jewelry Lovers Should Know About the October Birthstone

The opal’s name is believed to have originated in India (the source of the first opals brought to the Western world), where in Sanskrit it was called Upala, a “precious stone.” .” In ancient Rome, this became opalus. Most opals are valued for their shifting colors in rainbow hues – a phenomenon is known as “play-of-color.”

Opals are formed over millions and millions of years.  The process involves water picking up mineral rich silica as it passes through sandstone, then the water seeps into cracks within the Earth and rests. As the water evaporates the silica particles are left behind.  This process repeated countless times eventually forms the beautiful Opal stone.

The October birthstone’s dramatic play-of-color has inspired writers to compare it to fireworks, galaxies, and volcanoes. Bedouins once believed opal held lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. Ancient Greeks thought opals bestowed the gift of prophesy and protection from disease. Europeans long maintained opal to be a symbol of purity, hope, and truth. Hundreds of years ago, opal was believed to embody the virtues and powers of all colored stones.

When it comes to the opal birthstone meaning and symbolism, the stone has been traditionally associated with loyalty, faithfulness, purity, hope, and confidence. It is believed to be imbued with beneficial properties relating to vision, both in terms of eyesight, and internal visualization, i.e. imagination and dreams.

While Australia is by far the largest exporter of opal, this gem can be found in various other locations, including Ethiopia, Mexico, US, Peru, Turkey, and others. Even though it is no longer as rare as it used to be, opal birthstone still manages to capture people’s hearts and makes a perfect gift for a loved one born in October.

Color: Colorless, white, yellow, orange, and red (various shades), yellowish-brown, greenish, blue, gray, black, violet.

Crystallography: Amorphous.

Hardness: 5.5-6.5

Sources: Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Tanzania, and the United States.

Types of Opal

  • Yowah and Koroit opals are caramel brown “nuts” with veins of precious opal matrix inside and can be found in Australia.
  • Fire opals are known for their distinct orange color, they can mostly be found in Mexico.
  • True to their namesake, honey opals are a warm yellow opal.
  • Welo opals hail from Ethiopia.
  • Fossil opals are bones, teeth, and parts of dinosaurs fossilized as opals. 
  • Jelly opals are transparent and look like wobbly jelly.
  • White opals are milky, and some may have rainbows in it.
  • Crystal opals are translucent, with more of a color play than jelly opals.   
  • Black opals have a very dark body tone which really brings out the color of the opal’s flames. 
  • Boulder opals are ironstone boulders that contain thin seams and patches of precious opals. They have veins of color in spectacular patterns.

Care and Cleaning Of Opal Jewellery

Since the major portion of the effect created by opals come from the spectacular interplay of colors created by refractions, even minor scratches or grazes can drastically impair the beauty of the stone. This means that proper care and maintenance of your opal jewellery are essential if you want to keep the stone flawless

Due to its relatively high concentration of water, opal is much more susceptible to damage from heat or from sudden temperature changes. Because of their porous nature, opals are not to be cleaned by detergents or jewelry cleaners, as they contain acids and chemicals which might cause significant damage to the stone. In order to ensure its longevity, you should clean your opal jewelry with a mixture of warm water and soap. Even then, try to keep the procedure as short as possible. Since opal doublets and triplets are held together by an adhesive, too much exposure to water can result in the weakening of the binding matter and serious deterioration of the stone.

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