Opal Jewelry

Opal jewelry has long been admired for its incredible display of color. As October's birthstone, it is often worn as round, oval or freeform cabochons set in a variety of mountings. Opal jewelry is often classified as having precious, fire or common gemstones. There are many other classifications of opal based on their varying characteristics, such as black opal, Mexican water opal, honey opal and moss opal. The value of an opal lies in the size of the stone, the colors it displays and the pattern of the colors. opal jewelry - such as this opal ring - available through our online store. Click to purchase! The difficulty in finding specimens with all three attributes is that opals occur as very thin seems in rock or in white opals without fire. These seems can be utilized by cementing the thin layer to a backing such as obsidian or ceramic. This variety is known as a doublet. Using a black cement will make the colors appear stronger. If a quartz cabochon is then cemented on top of the opal, the stone is called a triplet. These varieties are frequently used in opal jewelry, especially rings.

One of the most curious things about opals is that they contain varying amounts of water. The amount can be between 5% and 30% depending on the specimen. Because of this, opal jewelry should be kept in a humid environment. Additionally, opals do not have any specific crystal structure. Opal does possess a structure, however, it consists of random chains of silicon and oxygen packed into extremely small spheres. In superior specimens these spheres are organized into pockets of equal size and regular concentration. This organized grouping creates the various colors frequently sought after in opal jewelry.

The Moh's scale of hardness classifies opal as a 5.5-6.5. Much care should be taken with opal jewelry. Because opals are hydrous, they must be kept hydrated or else they may splinter or crack. Also, opals are very heat-sensitive. When having your opal jewelry repaired, make sure that care is taken to prevent dehydrating your gems. Do not use gem cleaner to clean your opal jewelry. Use water and a soft polishing cloth to maintain its brilliance. Applying mineral oil to your opal may also help maintain its hydration and enhance its color temporarily.


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