October Birthstone (Opal)
Opal is the stone attributed to those born in the month of October.
Often compared to volcanoes, galaxies, and fireworks, Opals have a rich history due to their striking color pattern. Highly prized and sought after by kings, emperors, maharajas and sultans, the majestic Opal has been desired throughout the ages. The Romans prized opals, ranking them second only to emeralds, and believed them to bring the owner good fortune. Arabic legend says the stone descended to Earth from a foreign galaxy in a flurry of lightning and storm.
The name Opal comes from "opalus," which means “to see a change in color”. Opals range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue.
An opal's beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background. Opal is a formation of non- crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature's heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals.
The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces are created that give opal its radiance.
There are three main aspects of an opal’s quality:
1. Color: Background color and play-of-color
2. Pattern: Arrangement of play-of-color
3. Clarity: Transparency and quantity of inclusions
Common terms for play-of-color patterns include:
· Pin-fire or pinpoint: Small, closely set patches of color
· Peacock: Mainly Blue and green
· Harlequin or mosaic: Broad, angular, closely set patches of color
· Flame: Sweeping reddish bands or streaks that shoot across the stone
With no two opals the same, this stone’s intrinsic beauty and ever-changing colors and patterns keep those who poses it spellbound. Individual opals can vary widely in appearance and quality. As diverse as snowflakes or fingerprints, each gem can differ noticeably.