Australia's National Gemstone - Opal
An opal's story begins with silica dissolving into groundwater from the surrounding strata. Over time, some of the water was lost by evaporation through the permeable rock around it. The silica also had the natural tendency to try and reduce its contact with water. Thus, it packed together as tightly as possible, eventually developing into aggregates, forming, with the water, what is known as a 'sol'. The viscosity of this sol determined what size the aggregates needed to be before settling out of solution. Hence aggregates of similar size tended to settle together. Once these settled, they formed a gel, which gradually lost more water, and cemented together to form a hard mineral. In most cases, there was too much cementation, creating a continuous substance. However, sometimes there was just the right amount, so that the stone hardened, but there were gaps left in between the silica spheres. These gaps acted as a diffraction grating and splitting light into its full spectrum. This is what causes the brilliant multi-hued colour play seen in precious opals.
It’s hard to see this amazing gemstone without falling in love. No two pieces will ever be the same with the amazing play of colours that change with every movement. There's no other precious stone in the world that comes close to the beauty & individuality that each piece possesses.
There is no limit to the different patterns this beautiful gem displays, there is a different and unique pattern unearthing itself every day, from perfect alternating squares (harlequin) to any other shape imaginable, stripy & wavy patterns also amazing picture stone displaying an infinite list of images.
Opal is the birthstone for people born in October and also the stone for 14th and 18th anniversary of marriage.
Opals have been one of the most sought after precious gemstones for thousands of years, with the ancient Romans, Egyptians and Greeks highly valuing them and the famous Marc Antony going to great lengths to obtain opals with the belief of great power held by this mystical stone. No other precious gemstone has the amazing range or movement of intense colour and to this day is still highly sort after by many cultures around the world. Whether you are seeing it for the first time or you have spent many years mining, cutting and selling this amazing stone you are surprised every day at its unique ability to appear different with every movement it makes. With the inability to find two stones the same, opal will always remain the most sort after stone in the world.