Opal is remarkable thanks to its color, or rather its ability to reflect the light thanks to its unique structure. Even Isaac Newton studied the unusual nature of this gem. He noted the possibility of Opal to reflect the rays of light especially. This quality is due to the existence of various defects or rather rifts inside its structure. Unfortunately, Opal can lose this feature due to the unknown reason. Fortunately, this stone can restore this peculiarity. Many scientists attempted to explore the subject. But no one managed to find the proven explanation for this fact. Secondly, Opal is a very soft gemstone. According to the Mohs Scale of Hardness, this gem has the durability of 5.5 to 6.5/10. This stone is even softer than Peridot. So you should wear it carefully.
Origin and History
Before the discovery of the deposits in Australia, Opale principally supplied from Hungary. However, despite the Hungarian origin, this gemstone bore the name "Oriental Opal." The Greek and Turkish merchants brought this gem in Holland from the spot known as Chernivtsi. Currently, this is a city in western Ukraine. But previously, it belonged to Hungary. By the way, Opals obtained from this region are the most valuable on the market. The sad fact is that these mines exhausted in the 15th century. The later deposits developed in Australia, Honduras, and Mexico. Australian Opals came from White Cliffs, New South Wales. However, there are other locations such as Barcoo River, and Bulla Creek in Queensland. Mexican mines contain mostly Fire Opals. The best Opals of Honduras arrive from the Department of Gracias.
Varieties of Opal
There are numerous types of Opal.
- Common Opal is yellowish, or a greenish semi-precious stone that possesses opaque and translucent properties. It is, as a rule, the stone for cheap jewelry and ornamental purposes;
- Fire Opal is a widespread Mexican Opal, which has a fire-like effect in the sunshine. It is usually of yellowish or reddish tint;
- Wood Opal often represents the concentric rings of the tree, whence its name;
- Resin Opal is generally of yellow color and resinous in appearance;
- Agate Opal possesses the so-like Agate-structure, which showcases different shades of color;
- Liver Opal or Menilite is a liver-coloured variety of common Opal;
- Hyaline, also known as "Muller's glass," possesses transparency, similar to glass, after that it's a colorless variety of common Opal;
- Hydrophane is a variety of Opal, which when being in water becomes translucent. It is usually of opaque yellow or white color.
Magical Properties Attributed to Opal
In all respects, Opal was a sacred stone for our ancestors. As a result, they endowed this gem with various mystical and even magical properties.
The authors of the 16th century claim that Opal could make its wearer favorite person, protect him from the suicide, and enhance the keenness of his sight. According to medieval treatises, Opal could cure the diseases of internal organs, including the stimulation of the heart, mood enhancement and resist infection.