At e&e we love opal silver jewellery. We offer beautiful opal earrings, opal rings and many more.
“In precious opals there might be a dash of red here, a seductive swirl of blue there, and in the center, perhaps, a flirtatious glance of green. But each stone flickers with a unique fire and a good opal is one with an opinion of its own.” Victoria Finlay
Opals are, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful gemstones with their mesmerizing patters and incredible displays of colour. While you may own a few of these stunning little gems, do you know where they are from and how they are made?
Gemstones are believed to be formed by rain. Those in the know don’t always agree as to exactly how the gemstones are formed but the common belief is that they are formed when water seeps down into the crevasses of rock. When the water evaporates, silica is left behind, and this dries out to harden into the opal.
Where do Opals come from?
Australia is where you will find the biggest supply of opals. It is estimated that 90% of opals in the world come from Australia with the remaining 10% being made up of countries like Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Czech Republic and Ethiopia.
Opals feature prominently in the Aboriginal History; they believe that opals are the creators footprint and they touched the base of rainbow in order to bring harmony to the world.
Opals found in Australia can be divided into 3 different types, namely the white opal, boulder opal and black opal.
White opals are aptly named because they are white or milky in colour. These are the most common type of opal because and many people assume it is the only type of opal available.
Boulder opals can be found mainly in Queensland, Australia and they have been named boulder opals because they are naturally found in ironstone rock or boulder. These opals can be a beautiful brown on one side and a striking blue on the others. Boulder opals are well known for their unique shape and are favoured amongst jewellery designers the world over.
Lighting Ridge in Australia is the only place in the world that produces Black Opal with the first recorded black opal in 1873. Despite its name black opals can actually be very colourful with some black opals having different colours on either side. They were called Black Opals because then the opal is washed and clipped it does have a black or grey base to it.
How are Opals mined?
Opals can easily be extracted by a miner alone. Mine works used to sink a shaft straight down until they discovered some “opal dirt”. Then the miner would branch out sideways and follow the level of the opal dirt, this driving sideways is done with picks and explosives. The miners then use handpicks and screwdrivers to extract opal. This usually requires a two-person team to get everything. Once the opals have been found they need to be dug out and this is done using jack hammers or diggers. The opal dirt is loaded onto trucks and driven to the surface. The trucks then unload into a dry agitator and this is where the dirt is tumbled and washed for several hours. When this has been done, the tailings that are left are sorted through for the opals.
Opals can be used in all types of jewellery. A Sterling silver chain with an opal pendant that is surrounded by diamonds is simply yet so incredibly stunning. An opal with a small diamond on each side makes for a beautiful ring setting. A set of stud earrings set with an opal are the perfect accessory for any occasion. Because opals come in a wide range of colours you can literally make any kind of jewellery with them, from stunning, ornate statement pieces to simple, understated pieces that can be worn every day including opal earrings, opal rings, opal stud earrings.
Some fun facts about opals
- Opals are associated with luck with many civilizations viewing it as the lucky stone.
- The royals are big fans of the humble opal with Queen Victoria declaring her favourite gemstone, the opal. She fell in love with their intoxicating colours.
- Romans considered the opal to be the queen of gemstones with it symbolizing hope and good fortune.
- Opals have been found on Mars.
- Opals are the birthstone for October
- Blond women wore opal necklaces to protect their hair from losing its colour.
Opals might not be one of the most popular gemstones, but they are mesmerizing little gems that make for some stunning jewellery because of their wide range of colours. They can be used in bracelets, necklaces, brooches, rings and earrings. Designers love using opal in their designs because it is colourful and adds a unique look to any piece of jeweler that they want to make.