OPALS IN ESTATE JEWELRY AND VINTAGE JEWELRY

BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES
Opal is the birthstone for October and is the 14th year wedding anniversary stone.

ORIGIN OF NAME
The name opal is derived from the Sanskrit word "Upala" which meant precious stone. This evolved into the Latin name for opals, "Opalus".

VALUE
Opals have always appealed to admirers for their play of color or their shifting colors under movement and different lights. Opals range in color from white to black. The most prized are black opals with an intense play of color. Also important in the color of play is the dominant color and the color that is most abundant. The most valued color is intense red, followed by orange, green and blue. Blue is the most common color shown. Play of color is measured when the stone is viewed face up. The brighter and more brilliant an opal the greater value it will have.

VIEW OUR OPAL ESTATE JEWELRY COLLECTION
Estate Jewelry - Opals
Edwardian Antique Heart Shaped Opal Brooch in Platinum
Big Opal 14kt yellow gold ruby ring with intense colour of play
Vintage Tamara Asher Autralian Opal Topaz Ring
Estate Colorful Dark Opal Ring

HISTORY
The oldest opal mine is thought to be in Czechoslovakia (formerly Hungary). The mine is thought to have worked since the 14th century, but some documentation suggests it may have been earlier.

FORMATION
Opal is formed from fossil matter from shells, bones and wood caught in cavities and cracks in near-surface volcanic rock. It is formed in or near volcanic ash by percolating water that dissolves silica and then precipitates opal.

FOUND
The finest opals in the world come from Australia. Australia is also the most significant producer of opals. New South Wales is the primary source of black opal. Opals are also found in Brazil, Guatemala, Ireland, the U.S., Mexico, the Honduras and Japan.

ESTATE OPAL JEWELRY CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Opals should not be cleaned in ultrasonic cleaners, steamers, heat, and jewelry cleaning solution or other chemicals. Opals jewelry should be removed before doing dishes, bathing or swimming. Immersion into water may cause stone discoloration or possible cracking.

LEGENDS
Opals have always evoked many feelings and superstitions. Romans considered opals a stone of love and hope. The opal talisman from the House of Normandy was considered to make the wearer invisible, thereby becoming known as the talisman for thieves and spies. Australian aborigines considered opal to be a devil item, being half-serpent and half-human. During the 19th century, the belief that opals are bad luck was born from Sir Walter Scotts novel, Anne of Geierstein. In this book, the opal would change colors depending on the wearers mood, but, when holy water was sprinkled on the opal the heroine's demonic grandmother fainted and died. The results of this book caused opal prices to drop 50% and began the legend of opals being an unlucky stone.

ESTATE JEWELRY HISTORY
Queen Victoria changed the outlook on opals when she wore an opal during her reign and often gave opals as gifts. Queen Victoria is credited with opals being a popular adornment with what is now considered the "Victorian Jewelry Period". Opals were a favorite stone for Rene Lalique during the Art Nouveau period. He designed opal jewelry for Sarah Bernhardt and others. Opals are popular in contemporary estate jewelry.

TECHNICAL DATA
Crystal system: mainly amorphous
Cleavage: None
Refractive Index 1.44 - 1.47
Specific Gravity: 1.98 - 2.20

HARDNESS
With a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5, on the Mohs' Scale, opals are hard enough to wear, however; they generally are a softer stone so some caution should be exercised.

Visit the opal ESTATE JEWELRY at Ten Two Three.