October's Birthstone - Opal
Lucky October babies - the mesmerisingly beautiful opal is this month's birthstone.
How are Opals Created?
Opals are formed when silica-rich water seeps into deep cracks in the Earth's crust. Over millions of years, this silica eventually forms precious opals.
Long treasured for their otherworldly beauty, opals display a kaleidoscope of flashing colours when held in the light, shining in a dazzling, opalescent glow that’s entirely unique to this stone.
It's why opals are famous for their so-called “play of colour,” meaning they can quickly change from light, incandescent colours to intense and bright fiery tones.
Opals throughout History
The name opal is derived from ancient sources: the Sanskrit Upala – meaning “precious stone”; the Latin Opalus; and the Greek Opallios which both mean ”to see a colour change”.
Opals have at various times been thought to have mystic powers, created from lightning, and given wearers the ability to see the future, or simply been bearers of luck.
How to Care for your Opal Jewellery
It's essential to know that opals are softer than most other gemstones, with a rating of 5.5 to 6.0 on the Mohs hardness scale. This means that opals, like pearls, are much more delicate than diamonds - they have a hardness similar to that of glass.
To ensure your opal jewellery stands the test of time, here are our expert care tips:
1. Remove your opal jewellery while doing household chores, gardening, exercising and showering.
2. Make sure to apply perfumes, hairsprays and fake tans before you put on your opal jewellery.
3. Avoid wearing your opal jewellery in any type of hot tub, jacuzzi, sauna or swimming pool.
4. Clean solid opals occasionally using fresh water and facial soap. Do not soak the opal in water for prolonged periods! Just rinse briefly under a running room temperature tap and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth immediately. Also, do not use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean opals.
5. Store your opal jewellery separate to your other jewellery, in a soft pouch or cloth rather than plastic bags.
Opals as Engagement Rings - the Controversial Question!
We're sometimes asked about whether an opal stone can be chosen for engagement ring?
Our very honest and very direct answer is.....
If you absolutely have your heart set on an opal ring, you have to be honest with yourself about whether you’re careful with your jewellery. An opal is a beautiful but delicate gemstone and you will need to follow the above advice.