Birthstone of the Month

The history of October’s birthstone, opal, is as mesmerizing as the gem itself.  

For centuries, humans have been collecting, mounting and carving pieces of the flashing precious opal. This stone is found in white, green, grey and, yes, a rare black; some cultures have credited opal with supernatural origins. Even in the rough, opal invites descriptive words like fireworks, galaxies, and lightning.

Precious opal’s extraordinary play of color remains an optical wonder. The Gemological Institute of America reports that the Roman scholar Pliny wrote that opals "carry such a play within them that they equal the deepest and richest colors of painters. Others…simulate the flaming fire of burning sulphur and even the bright blaze of burning oil.” Pliny marveled that this kaleidoscopic gem encompassed the red of ruby, the green of emerald, the yellow of topaz, the blue of sapphire, and the purple of amethyst.

In modern times, researchers found opal relics believed to date to 4000 BC in a Kenyan cave. By 1990, a fresh interest in precious African opal has emerged after new deposits were found. 

The category of opal also includes fire opal, a translucent specimen with warm body colors of yellow to orange to red. Fire opal, mostly found in the state of Queretaro in Mexico, often exhibits bright green flashes inside its host material of rhyollite stone. 

Then comes opalite, a man-made material that offers blue-purple flash in a milky white glass. It is also known as the purple opal, ice cream opal, tiffany stone, and opalized fluorite.

Many are surprised to learn that some petrified wood includes opal processes, and thus this type of stone is known as opalized wood or opalized petrified wood.  This material is fascinating to the eye -- not for the flash of colors seen in precious opals, rather for its layering of colors.

Opals: We like them all and offer them all. Happy birthday to our October friends!
Birthstone of the Month
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