‘The Path of Enlightenment’ necklace contains 180 magnificent opals from Lightning Ridge, Australia, a famous opal producing area. IMAGE: Courtesy Cody Opal via GIA.com
Opal is a unique gemstone as it beautifully blends different vibrant colours together. This versatility led the Romans to describe it as the most potent and valuable of all gems. This interplay of shades inspired the Bedouins to believe that Opals were the result of thunderstorms and lightning. Australia has been the principal source of Opals since commercial mining of Opal started during the 1890s.
The birthstone for the month of October, Opal can be defined as an exquisite ‘amorphous hydrated’ mineraloid silica. This unstructured quality, unlike other crystalline silica forms, has led Opal to be classed as mineraloid and not as a mineral. An Opal holds as much as 20% water within its silica structure.
This black opal exhibits exceptional play-of-colour. IMAGE: Courtesy Cody Opal via GIA.com
Opal is famed for its extraordinary display of variegated colours known as ‘play-of-colour’. Among the twin groupings of ‘common’ and ‘precious’, only the best Opals reveal the brilliant range of colours. With multiple sub-microscopic spheres assembled in a grid pattern within the Opal, results in diffracting lightwaves splitting into spectral colours.
Though gemstone specialists around the world classify Opals into different classes, the primary types include five. In Light or White Opal, the transference of colour happens against a grey or white background whereas in a Black Opal, the colour change takes place against a darker background. The Fire Opal, also called ‘Mexican Opal’, mostly does not display such scintillating colours and instead, has a body colour varying from red, brown, orange or yellow.
This fine-quality light opal is from Mintabie, South Australia. Almost all of its spectral colours are visible from a variety of viewing angles. IMAGE: Courtesy Cody Opal via GIA.com
Just like the name suggests, the Boulder Opal shines within its adjoining rock formation. Boulder Opal exhibits these dazzling shades alongside a dark and light setting. Breathtaking colour shift can be witnessed in Water or Crystal Opal where these spectral colours smoulder against a lucid backdrop.
The rough specimen is a thin seam of boulder opal on sandstone host rock. The 3.47-carat boulder opal tablet was cut from a similar piece of rough. IMAGE: GIA.com
Known as the ‘eye stone’, the Opal is believed to have healing, metaphysical characteristics that promote tranquillity while channelling energies towards a more affirmative thought process.
Throughout history, the Opal has been thought to be the luckiest and most magical gemstone because of all the colours it shows; it was even thought to be able to preserve the life and colour of blonde hair!
Opals in the weight range of a half carat to one carat costs between US$500 and US$1,500. However, a fine Black Opal weighing anywhere between five and 10 carats can be as expensive as US$50,000.
This exceptional light opal is from South Australia’s Coober Pedy opal fields. IMAGE: Courtesy Cody Opal via GIA.com
This astounding price can be attributed to the rarity and exceptional beauty of a superior Opal. Australian specimens rank particularly high on the price scale.
To have your own bespoke piece of jewellery either remade, or created new, call us at +65 6733 4100, visit our atelier at #05-04 International Building, 360 Orchard Road, Singapore 238869; or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.