Table of Contents 

Introduction
A Kaleidoscope of Colours
A Rich History and Folklore 

Opal Varieties

Black Opal
White Opal
Fire Opal
Boulder Opal

The Opal's Symbolism 
Staple Opal Jewellery Pieces

Opal Stud Earrings
Opal Pendant Necklace
Opal Solitaire Ring
Opal Bracelet 
Opal Hoop Earrings
Opal Brooch
Opal Bangle or Cuff Bracelet
Opal Cluster Ring 
Opal Birthstone Jewellery

Caring For Your Opal Jewellery

Avoid Extreme Temperatures 
Protect From Impact
Keep Away From Chemicals
Clean Gently 
Regular Inspection
Store Properly
Professional Maintenance 
Wear with Care

Conclusion 
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Introduction

As the leaves change colour and autumn sets in, October brings us a birthstone as enchanting as the season itself – the opal. Opals are unique gemstones known for their dazzling play of colours and captivating beauty. In this blog, we'll delve into the fascinating world of opals, exploring their history, significance, and the magical allure that makes them a favourite among October-born individuals and jewellery enthusiasts alike.

A Kaleidoscope of Colours

One of the most distinctive features of opals is their play of colours, which can create a mesmerising display resembling a kaleidoscope. This phenomenon, known as "opalescence," occurs when light interacts with the microscopic silica spheres within the stone, diffracting light into a spectrum of vibrant hues. Opals can exhibit a wide range of colours, from fiery reds and oranges to tranquil blues and greens. This iridescence gives opals an almost otherworldly appeal, making them a coveted gemstone for jewellery aficionados.

A Rich History and Folklore

Opals have a rich history and have been treasured for centuries. The name "opal" is believed to have originated from the Sanskrit word "upala," meaning "precious stone." In ancient times, opals were associated with various mythologies and superstitions. The Romans regarded opals as a symbol of hope and purity, while the Ancient Greeks believed that opals possessed the powers of foresight and prophecy.

In the Middle Ages, opals gained a somewhat undeserved reputation for bringing bad luck, largely due to Sir Walter Scott's novel "Anne of Geierstein," where an opal-bearing character met a tragic fate. However, this superstition was dispelled in the 19th century when Queen Victoria's love for opals helped revive their popularity.

Opal Varieties

Opals come in various varieties, each with its unique characteristics. The most well-known type is the precious opal, which displays the captivating play of colours. Within precious opals, you'll find different types, including:

Black Opal - Known for its dark body tone, which enhances the play of colours, black opals are considered the most valuable and sought after.

White Opal - These opals have a light body tone, allowing for a vibrant play of colours against a pale background.

Fire Opal - Fire opals are transparent to translucent, with vivid orange, red, or yellow hues, resembling flickering flames. These are the most expensive and sought after opals.

Boulder Opal - These opals are found in ironstone matrix, creating a stunning contrast between the opal and its host rock.

The Opal's Symbolism

Opals have been associated with various symbolic meanings throughout history. They are often considered a stone of inspiration, creativity, and emotional healing. Opals are believed to enhance one's imagination and spark originality, making them an ideal gemstone for artists and writers seeking inspiration. Additionally, opals are thought to promote harmony and emotional well-being.

Staple Opal Jewellery Pieces

Opal jewellery pieces are timeless and versatile, making them essential additions to any jewellery collection. These pieces can be worn on various occasions and paired with different outfits, showcasing the captivating beauty of opals. Here are some staple opal jewellery pieces to consider:

Opal Stud Earrings 

Opal stud earrings are classic and elegant. They add a touch of colour and sophistication to both casual and formal attire. Whether in a simple round or more intricate design, opal studs are a versatile choice.

Opal Pendant Necklace 

An opal pendant necklace is a versatile piece that can be worn daily or for special occasions. The opal's play of colours suspended from a delicate chain adds a subtle yet enchanting touch to any outfit.

Opal Solitaire Ring

A solitaire opal ring showcases the beauty of the gemstone as the centrepiece. It's a timeless and versatile choice, suitable for both engagement rings and everyday wear.

Opal Bracelet

Opal bracelets can feature a single opal or a row of opals, offering flexibility in style. They can be worn alone or stacked with other bracelets to create a layered look.

Opal Hoop Earrings

Opal hoop earrings combine the classic appeal of hoops with the enchanting colours of opals. They add a playful and sophisticated touch to your attire.

Opal Dangle Earrings

Dangle earrings with opal accents are perfect for adding movement and elegance to your look. They can feature opals as the main gemstone or as charming accents.

Opal Brooch

An opal brooch is a unique and versatile accessory that can be pinned to clothing, scarves, or accessories. It adds a touch of opalescent elegance to any ensemble.

Opal Bangle or Cuff Bracelet

Opal bangles or cuff bracelets make a statement with their bold design. They can feature one or more opals and are often adjustable for a comfortable fit.

Opal Cluster Ring

Cluster rings feature multiple opals set closely together, creating a captivating mosaic of colours. They are eye-catching and ideal for those who want a more elaborate design.

Opal Birthstone Jewellery

Opals are the birthstone for October, making opal birthstone jewellery a meaningful and cherished gift for October-born individuals.

When choosing staple opal jewellery pieces, consider the quality of the opal, its colour play, and the type of setting. Opals come in various colours and varieties, so you can select one that resonates with your personal style. Additionally, proper care and maintenance will ensure that your opal jewellery pieces remain stunning for years to come.

Caring For Your Opal Jewellery 

Caring for your opal jewellery is essential to preserve its beauty and ensure it remains in excellent condition for years to come. Opals are delicate gemstones, so they require special attention and care. Here are some tips on how to care for your opal jewellery

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Opals are sensitive to extreme temperature changes, which can cause them to crack or craze (develop fine lines or fissures on the surface). Remove your opal jewellery before exposing it to very hot or cold environments, such as saunas or extreme weather conditions.

Protect from Impact

Opals are relatively soft compared to other gemstones, like diamonds or sapphires, so they can be easily scratched or chipped. Store your opal jewellery separately from other jewellery to prevent accidental damage. When wearing opal rings, be mindful of activities that may expose them to impact, and consider removing them during such activities.

Keep Away from Chemicals

Avoid exposing your opal jewellery to chemicals, including household cleaning products, perfumes, and hairspray. Chemicals can damage the stone and affect its appearance. Always remove your opal jewellery before applying lotions or perfumes.

Clean Gently

To clean opal jewellery, use a soft, damp cloth or a mild soap and lukewarm water. Avoid abrasive materials or brushes that could scratch the surface. Be sure to rinse the jewellery thoroughly and pat it dry with a clean, soft cloth.

Avoid Immersion

Opals should not be immersed in water for extended periods. They are porous gemstones and can absorb moisture, which may lead to changes in colour or the formation of cracks. Remove opal jewellery before swimming or submerging it in water.

Regular Inspection

Periodically inspect your opal jewellery for any loose settings or signs of damage. Loose prongs or settings can increase the risk of the opal becoming dislodged or damaged. If you notice any issues, have your jewellery inspected and repaired by a professional jeweller. Contact the team at Morgan & Co who will have their master jeweller inspect the integrity of your opal pieces. 

Store Properly

When not wearing your opal jewellery, store it in a padded jewellery box or pouch to protect it from dust and scratches. Avoid storing opals in direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause them to lose their play of colours.

Professional Maintenance

Consider having your opal jewellery professionally cleaned and inspected by a jeweller at least once a year. They can check the settings and ensure that the opal remains secure. Contact the team at Morgan & Co who can have their master jeweller clean and inspect your precious opal jewellery for a small fee.

Wear with Care

Be cautious when wearing opal rings or bracelets, as these items are more exposed to potential damage. Reserve opal jewellery for special occasions or lighter activities to minimise wear and tear.

By following these care tips, you can enjoy the stunning beauty of your opal jewellery for generations to come. Opals are unique and mesmerising gemstones, and with proper care, they will continue to shine brightly and retain their vibrant play of colours.

Conclusion

October's birthstone, the opal, is a gemstone that continues to captivate and inspire. Its play of colours, rich history, and symbolism make it a unique and cherished gemstone. Whether set in a piece of jewellery or kept as a collector's gem, opals are a testament to nature's ability to create beauty that can enchant and mesmerise anyone fortunate enough to behold their brilliance. For October-born individuals, the opal serves as a symbol of their birth month's unique and enchanting character.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is an opal?

A. An opal is a type of gemstone that is prized for its unique play of colors, also known as opalescence. It is composed primarily of hydrated silica and is renowned for its captivating and iridescent appearance.

Q. Where are opals found?

A. Opals are found in various regions worldwide, with notable deposits in Australia, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States. Australia, in particular, is famous for producing a significant percentage of the world's opals, including the highly regarded black opals.

Q. What causes the play of colours in opals?

A. The play of colours in opals is caused by the diffraction of light as it interacts with tiny spheres or voids within the gemstone. This phenomenon is a result of the unique internal structure of opals, which diffracts light into a spectrum of colours.

Q. Are opals valuable gemstones?

A. The value of an opal depends on factors such as its type, colour play, intensity, and overall quality. Precious opals, especially those with vibrant and prominent colour play, can be highly valuable. Black opals, in particular, are among the most valuable and sought-after opals.

Q. Are opals suitable for jewellery, such as engagement rings?

A. While opals are stunning gemstones, they are relatively soft compared to other precious gemstones like diamonds or sapphires. Therefore, opals may not be the best choice for engagement rings or jewellery that experiences frequent wear and potential impact. However, opals can be used in jewellery like earrings, pendants, and brooches, where they are less exposed to everyday wear and tear.

Q. How should I care for opal jewellery?

A. Opals require gentle care to preserve their beauty. Avoid exposing opals to extreme temperature changes, as well as harsh chemicals, which can damage the stone. To clean opal jewellery, use a soft, damp cloth or a mild soap and water solution. Be sure to store opal jewellery separately from other jewellery to prevent scratches.

Q. What is the significance of opals in folklore and metaphysical beliefs?

A. Opals have been associated with various symbolic meanings, including inspiration, creativity, emotional healing, and harmony. In folklore, opals have been considered both a symbol of good luck and bad luck, depending on cultural beliefs. Some also believe opals possess the power to enhance one's intuition and promote positive energy.

Q. Can opals be synthetic or lab-created?

A. Yes, synthetic opals are created in laboratories and have the same chemical composition and visual characteristics as natural opals. They are often used as affordable alternatives to natural opals in jewellery.

Q. Are opals suitable as birthstone jewellery for October-born individuals?

A. Yes, opals are the traditional birthstone for the month of October. They are a popular choice for birthstone jewellery, including rings, necklaces, and earrings, to celebrate the birthdays of individuals born in this month.

Q. How can I determine the quality of an opal before purchasing it?

A. When evaluating opals, consider factors such as colour play (brightness, intensity, and variety of colours), clarity, size, and overall condition. Seek reputable jewellers who can provide certification or information about the opal's origin and quality to make an informed purchase.

October 04, 2023 — Morgan Gaskin