Opals, the magical gemstone. A gem you can get lost in for hours. The national gemstone of Australia and the birthstone of October. It’s a hydrated amorphous form of silica, but to us normal folk it’s a really pretty mineral which is made up of 20% water.
The internal structure of Opal makes it diffract light, this causes the beautiful colours we find in them.
Reds, oranges, blues, greens, pinks and blacks. Every colour you could imagine comes out of these stones. Black opals are the rarest but whites and greens are most common. Fire Opals are red and orange (hence the name) whereas a Peruvian Opal is generally blue hues.
As Opals are rare and most of the time, expensive so quite often suppliers create doublets and triplets to make them more accessible. A doublet or a triplet is a layer of opal attached to a ‘backing’ to make it more substantial and sometimes enhance colour.
While doing my research I got curious as to the world’s most expensive Opal, so I found the ‘Virgin Rainbow’, which literally glows in the dark. Mined in Coober Pedy, where most Australian Opals are mined, the stone apparently gets more vibrant the less light is around it. It was discovered in 2003 and is worth over $1 million. If you want to see this beauty you can view it in the Southern Australia Museum in Adelaide.
Were you born in October? Are you lucky enough to have this beautiful gemstone as your birthstone? If not, I bet you wish you were! Truly magical gemstones.