Opal Gemstones

Opals can be found in a variety of colours, from red fire opals to turquoise Andean opal from Argentina. Apart from colour, opal is often categorised as either iridescent or opaque. The iridescent (and most sought after) stones reveal a "colour play" where light is reflected off the tiny silica spheres inside the stone, meaning that the colours change when the stone is viewed from different angles. The opaque variety has no colour play and is sometimes called "Potch Opal", and usually inexpensive and used for beads.

Opal Gemstones available to buy on eBay

About Opal

The opal is a stone with as many qualities and meanings as it has colours. It is said to enhance the imagination and stimulate dreams. Opal is the birthstone for October, and is said to symbolise confidence and hope. Some say opal has therapeutic properties and can help healing eye problems in particular. Many opals are found in Australia, where Aboriginal folklore has it that opals were formed after the creator came to earth on a rainbow, and where he stepped, the rocks turned to opals.

Opal Gemstones

Typical Opal Uses

Opal is quite difficult to work with in jewellery. It can be quite easy to damage. Many stones are simple cabochon shapes, leaving the stone as simply and organically shaped as possible, so as to allow the colour play of the stone to take centre stage. Opal was very popular in the Art Nouveau period, with their ornate and intricate jewellery pieces. Opals are far from plain and simple. They do tend to suit busier pieces, and can perfectly complement diamonds and other, clear and pure gemstones. Opals can be set in a variety of metals, and here they present an enjoyable challenge to jewellery makers. Different metals will work well with different opals, affecting the vibrancy of the colour and the stone's overall iridescence. So for example, silver worked perfectly with the blue opal stones below, but gold might work perfectly well for other opals, such as the red fire opals.

Opal Jewellery

Opal jewellery can be some of the most interesting and unusual jewellery pieces you will find. The opal is the birthstone for October, and will make a perfect gift for anyone born in that month.

Opal Occurrences and Origins

The world's main producer of opals is Australia, which it has been for the last century or so. Opals can also be found in USA, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Japan, Indonesia, and parts of southern Africa and central Europe (Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) where opal mining dates back to the fourteenth century.

Opal Bracelet