October 27, 2010

October Birthstone: Opal

Posted in birthstones, gemstones, jewelry, rose diamonds tagged , , , at 3:50 pm by rosediamonds

October went by really fast!  I have been chained to the bench working on some larger projects, so I am going to make this brief.

Opals are the traditional brithstone for October and come in white, gray, blue, and black.  Their play of color (gemologist lingo for the sparkly bits) can range from green blue to red orange.  FYI: Red orange play of color is more expensive; I prefer blue green however.

Pink Tourmaline is the alternative birthstone for October.  It is mined in South America (Brazil) and usually has a bit of a brownish tinge to it.  Most of the “birthstone jewelry” features pink synthetic spinel.  If natural means a lot to you, ask for it by name!

Opals can be deceiving as well.  There are two types of assembled opals, doublets and triplets.  They can rev up the play of color, make the stone appear heavier/thicker/more expensive, and can protect delicate slivers of opal from damage.

There are a couple opal simulants.  Plastic, glass, and a ceramic simulant are out there, and usually look fake.  Another alternative to traditional opals are fire opals.  They look nothing like their opaque cousins and are mined in Mexico, among other places.

For more info about fire opals, (pictured below) check out this interesting article from The Online Jeweler Magazine.  They have the same hardness and toughness of regular opals.  The vivid reds and oranges are surprisingly still opals.

Opals need a little Tender loving care.  Store opals away from diamond and gemstone jewelry.  They are a much softer stone and can easily be damaged.  Opals like water and moist places.  When kept in dry spots for too long, they can craze.  They end up looking like crackle glass.  (see right). Do not listed to people telling you to oil an opal.  It can etch the stone and make it look dull.  

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2 Comments »

  1. October Birthstone: Opal…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. sammi said,

    i love it


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