Opal is one of the most beautiful gemstones in the world. Here at Opal Auctions we live and breath everything there is about Opals. We all know they are beautiful, but here are 10 awesome facts about opals that you might not know.
Opal is formed from rain. There is some conjecture on how exactly this precious gemstone forms, but many believe it is formed when water from rain seeps down into crevasses in the rock. Once the water evaporates, the silica that is left behind dries out and hardens into precious opal.
Opal has been found on Mars! It is one of only a handful of gemstones that have ever been discovered outside of our planet (the other being Peridot from outer space).
Opallios is the Greek word for Opals meaning To see a change of colour.The Roman word for Opal is Opalus meaning precious stone. The ancient Greeks believed that opals were formed from the tears of joy wept by Zeus when he defeated the titans, and that the opal bestowed prophetic powers.
The ancient Romans considered it a symbol of hope and good fortune. A roman scholar in 75AD summed up our beautiful opal saying: “Some opali carry such a play within them that they equal the deepest and richest colors of painters. Others…simulate the flaming fire of burning sulphur and even the bright blaze of burning oil.” He marveled that this kaleidoscopic gem encompassed the red of ruby, the green of emerald, the yellow of topaz, the blue of sapphire, and the purple of amethyst.” This is why Opal is commonly called the Queen of Gemstones.
Australia produces around 95% of the worlds opals. The majority of this Opal is white Opal from the fields of Coober Pedy in South Australia.
Australian native aborigines tell us that opal is our creator’s footprint that touched the earth at the base of a rainbow to bring harmony.
Opal is a Lucky gemstone. Most civilizations see opal as a lucky stone. There have been some exceptions to this including an English writer in the 1800’s and other gemstone marketers who say Opal is bad luck in their marketing. Maybe they realized opal is the best gemstone on earth and had to discredit it!But this campaign has failed and now Opal is even considered a talisman in some countries and a status symbol to own in others.
The play of color you see in Opal is due to millions of tiny silica Spheres of different sizes. These spheres refract light and cause the beautiful spectral colors you see in opal. The spheres have to be just the right size and of a uniform nature to create enough color for our eyes to see.
Image courtesy of Minsocam
The next time someone asks you why your Opal is so special you can rattle of a few of these amazing facts about Opals.
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