There is a series of opal curiosities that you may not know. Although surely what you should know is that in the world of precious stones this gem is the most colorful. With an internal structure that dissipates light and iridescent qualities that differentiate it from other gemstones.

For this reason, it is known as the rainbow stone and is also considered one of the most beautiful gems in the world of jewelry. So, whether you are a gemstone lover or just someone who wants to know more about them. Without further delay, we bring you the opal curiosities what you should know

It has «ccomposition equal to quartz

Opal is by definition hydrated silica dioxide which curiously is the same composition as quartz and other minerals. Only, unlike quartz, opal is hydrated. This means that it also has water molecules in its composition, specifically micro bubbles of water inside. In addition to this, another difference lies in the crystal structure.

The reflective effect of opal

Unlike the rest of the gems whose reflective effect is due to the impurities in its composition. Opal is the only stone capable of reflecting light rays and turning them into the colors of the rainbow. This is thanks to tiny lepispheres that it contains inside, which cause interference by dissecting the light as it passes through the stone.

This is how the diffracted light that is made up of all the visible colors produces the rainbow, although the tones change according to the angle of observation.

Opal can be easily broken

It is a relatively soft stone with a hardness of 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, so it requires special care. Although its main weakness lies in the water it contains, which ranges from 3 to 30%. One of the opal curiositiesis that, if it is kept in a dry air environment, the opal can dehydrate and crack.

For this reason, they must be kept in a humid environment or they can also be kept in an airtight plastic bag, with a piece of cotton or damp cloth, to prevent dehydration.

bringer of bad luck

During the 19th century, the rumor spread that it was a stone that brought bad luck. This was thanks to the novel «Anne de Geirstein» or «the mist maiden» by Scottish writer Walter Scott in 1829.

In it, she relates that her protagonist, Ana de Geirstein, always carried an opal with her. But after having gone through a series of terrible adventures, she finally decides to throw him into the sea, after which her life becomes peaceful. Empress Eugénie of France, who had been very impressed after reading the novel, spread a rumor throughout Europe that the opal brought bad luck. To the point where its sale or exhibition was prohibited.

It is believed that the diamond cutters of the time also contributed to this idea, for fear that their clients would not pay them in case of breaking an opal while they were working it, since the cut of the opals is very delicate and they break easily when being cut. chopped up.

However, much later, Queen Victoria of England, fascinated by this gem, would wear an opal from Australia at her coronation and in diplomatic meetings. Also promoting its production and exploitation. Turning it in a short time into an object of worship.

In Spain, for its part, the opal also acquired a bad reputation. Since the Royal Family attributed the death of five of their princes to an opal pendant. So this was offered to the Virgin of the Almudena to counteract its effects.

Main producers

Although there are important opal deposits in various parts of the world including Mexico, Brazil and Ethiopia. Another of the opal Curiosities, is that just one country controls 95 percent of the world market. That country and main producer is Australia.

Opals most valued in jewelry

Although there is a wide variety of common and precious opals and they have different appearances. However, those that we generally find set in beautiful jewels of recognized brands and the most desired in the world are: black opal, crystal opal and fire opal.

most famous opals

Olympic Australis: It is the largest and most valuable opal gem. Found in 1956 in Coober Pedy, Australia. Named for the Olympic Games that were taking place in Melbourne at the time. It has a weight of 17,000 carats, 3450 grams and 28 centimeters in length.

Fire of Australia: It is the largest high grade opal in the world with the size of a softball and a weight of 998 grams. This gem, valued at $675,000 and discovered in 1946, is owned by the South Australian Museum in the city of Adelaide.

Aurora Australis: Found in 1938 in the small town of Lightning Ridge, Australia. It is considered the most valuable black opal, named for its resemblance to a night sky full of stars. It weighs 180 carats and measures 7.62 centimeters by 4.57 centimeters. Due to its rarity, size and play of colors it was valued in 2005 at $772,420.

The light of the world: This is a 2,250 carat precious white opal, found in Australia. It is considered to be the most colorful white precious opal of all time.

virgin rainbow: It was discovered in 2003 in Three Mile fields in Coober Pedy, Australia. It is a gem of 72.65 carats and 63.33 millimeters in the shape of a tube, valued at 1 million dollars.

Other curiosities of opal

Astrology lovers should know that opal is the birthstone for the month of October. And it is also the stone of the 14th marriage anniversary.

It is also known as «The Gem of Artists», since according to alchemists it has the ability to bring out all hidden talents.

Among the mystical powers attributed to it, this stone is said to help with dream visualization and creative thoughts. And that attracts good luck and positive energies, especially if we receive it as a gift from a loved one. Also, it is called the stone of karma because it brings justice and works according to the laws of cause and effect.

As evidenced by these opal curiosities, the world of jewelry is exciting. Well, in addition to leaving us spellbound with its beauty, each stone tells a different story that deserves to be known.