The majorities of opals exceed the age of 60 million years and as a rule dates to the Cretaceous period, while dinosaur’s wanderer the earth.
Fire Opals have been treasured since the time of Aztecs, where they were considered the Gemstone of the Bird of Paradise.
Desirable by the Aztecs as symbolic of passionate love, and were thought to have transpired from the primordial waters of creation.
The 23-79 AD Roman historian and author of the world’s first encyclopedia, Pliny the Elder, found the Opal, to be exquisitely impressive, as bringing the radiant purples of Amethyst, the aquatic hues of Emerald all swimming together in unison, within an Opal.
The Romans believed the Opal to be a gemstone of good fortune, admiring it as a powerful assistant to prophecy, and held as a precious gem second only to the emerald in worth. Historically, considered a lucky charm that brought beauty, success and happiness to its wearer, the ancient Greeks believed Opals personified the powers of inner reflection and divination.
The Romans also esteemed Opals, considering them symbolic of aspiration and integrity. The Arabs believed Opals must had plunged from paradise in bursts of lightning, it is believed that Opals prevent strikes of lightening, shielding its wearer daily from adverse elements as well as providing a cloak of invisibility when necessary. Opal also was prized during the Middle Ages due to a notorious belief that it aided vision. Fair-haired women adorned necklaces of opal to safeguard their hair from suffering the loss of its color. To this day Scandinavian women wear Opal hair jewelry to discourage the arrival of graying hair and preserve their glistening blonde tresses. In the nineteenth century, Sir Walter Scott unwittingly gave the Opal an unlucky status with a widespread novel. Queen Victoria adored opals giving them often as royal wedding presents, forming a fashion trend in opal jewelry; As Opals were considered symbolic of faithfulness, confidence, and spiritual devotion.
While Opals essence of influence covers a distinctive selection of colors, Opal’s are highly valued for their exceptional blazing play of colors and opalescence, which gives the Opal the capability to mirror and refract light into burst of various colors. Opals also enjoy a extraordinary quality described as iridescence, which is the effect akin to the shiny rainbow colors exhibited in a bubble of soap, although more dramatic.
Opals are found in a wonderful array of colorful kaleidoscope hues and tones.
Before you buy Opals, be sure to examine the opal very carefully of its outer shell for fissures and tiny cracks where the heat has dried the stone and caused it to crack. If you find this to be so with the Opal of your choice, look for another.
As with all gemstones, Opals are susceptible to being scratched by other harder gemstones and precious metals, remember to store them separately. Caring for them in a proper manner will lengthen their life span as a beautiful piece of jewelry. Do not expose Opals to extensive periods of submersion in water while swimming or bathing, and never in oils. Keep them clear of chemicals, which can dry the Opal out. Remove them while working in an environment that could be harmful to your jewelry. Avoid rigorous conditions of rapid temperature changes, which can affect your opal. The nature of an Opal is best protected from use of ultrasonic cleaners, commercial jewelry cleaners and polish.
Clean Opals with plain or soapy water and a short soak in water can bring back the opals resiliency and luster from over drying of the gemstone.