Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica. Because of its amorphous character it is classed as a mineraloid, unlike the other crystalline forms of silica which are classed as minerals (Quartz, Chalcedony.)
Revered as a symbol of hope, fidelity, and purity, opal was dubbed the Queen of Gems by the ancient Romans because it encompassed the colors of all other gems. Opal is prized for its unique play of color, the ability to diffract light into flashes of rainbow color.
Opal occurs in different colors, ranging from semi-transparent to opaque. The most common is white opal. Crystal or water opal has a colorless body. The most valued variety, black opal, has a dark blue, gray, or black body color. Boulder opal combines precious opal with the ironstone in which it forms. Bright yellow, orange, or red fire opal are quite different from the other varieties of opal. Their day-glow tones, which are translucent to transparent, are beautiful with or without play of color. Opal, along with tourmaline, is the birthstone for October and the suggested gift for the fourteenth anniversary.
Today's supplies of opal come primarily from Australia, Mexico and the United States. Most opals are not faceted but cut into rounded or free-form cabochons that enhance their play of color.
We use both natural and lab-cultured opals in our jewelry.
Here is a photo of a silver ring with created white opal:
Here is a photo of 14 kt gold ring with opal, white topaz and peridot:
Check out more jewelry with opal.