This beautiful gemstone displays almost magical qualities of transparent and opalescent colors that range from milky whites and creamy yellows through to medium hues of blues and greens and darker tones with reds, browns, greys and even black. The Fire Opal is a stunning red-orange color and the Black Opal is one of the rarest and most sought after gemstones.
Formed from Silicon Dioxide, the Opal is a quartz type stone that is porous and contains as much as 6-10% water – more than any other gemstone. For this reason, special care needs to be taken to ensure that Opals do not dry out. Wearers of opal rings should avoid exposing them to extremes of temperature and dry atmospheres. Opals should be stored in plastic bags and in a cool environment to help retain their moisture.
Possessing a hardness factor of between 5.5 to 6.5, the Opal is suitable for wearing on an ongoing basis, if treated with care when undertaking any housework or activity that will expose the ring to chemicals or high temperatures.
Opals are classified by color, brilliance, clarity variety of pattern and quality. They are commonly cut in cabochons to enhance their luster and reflecting of colors.
One of the most abundant opal mines is in New South Wales in Australia