The most striking quality of precious opal is its flashes of color in rainbow reflections commonly described as ‘play-of-color’. Similarly, this shifting of color on the opal surface can be compare to the rainbow reflection on a water droplet.
Although not categorized as a precious stone, precious opal displaying beautify play of color are often as valuable as the traditional precious stone such as Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. Because of the high value of precious opal, in the jewelry trade we often set opal in gold settings similar to the other precious stone.
Opals are mostly found in Australia which is known for the world’s source of Opal. As a result the famous opal deposits are located within Australia at Lightning Ridge and White Cliffs in New South Wales.
The opal is a traditional birthstone of the month of October. It symbolises hope, innocence and purity.
- The name Opal maybe originated from the word Upala in Sanskrit (meaning Jewel)
- Those who believe in healing power of stones says they are good for eye diseases.
- Opal is said to symbolise hope, innocence and purity. It has a similar meaning in both western and eastern traditions.
- Opal is the birthstone of the month of Octorber (along with Tourmaline)
- In literature, the changing color of Opal is said to reflect the wearer emotions and personality.
Choosing The Right Opal
Opal comes in many base colors and reflected color. Generally the Opal with more ‘play of color’ are valued more than single color or milky opals.
At NOVA we choose to select mainly blue and green precious opal with lots of play-of-color to compliment with the color of 18k gold settings on the jewelry. There is a wide range of colors in opal, because of this there is not a strict grading system in opal like diamond or other gemstone.
A solid opal is a whole piece cut from a single piece of opal in cabochon shapes, It is usually translucent and display good play of color. As a result, most of NOVA jewelry use this type of opal and they were prechosen in person to ensure visual quality.
Opal can also be assembled in layers called “Triplet opal”. In comparison to solid opal, a triplet opal is layered with black opal on the bottom, then the precious opal that gives its color in the middle, and then a transparent stone like quartz or spinel is placed on top to protect its surface. Triplet opal has less overall material of precious opal, however they usually make up with spectacular brightness and play-of-color.
More information about the difference of common opal types can be found at The National Opal Collection.
Precious Opal Jewelry Care
Opal’s hardness is lower than most common gemstone and therefore should be worn with care away from abrasion and impact as well as high heat which can damage the inside of opal.
Opal is beautiful when set in yellow gold, especially with bezel setting which also protect its corners. Because of its beauty and versatility, opal can be made into most beautiful jewelry including rings, bracelets and pendants with opal.
Some example of NOVA opal jewelry, please visit our shop location to view and try on the jewelry in person or contact with one of our sale staff.