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Encyclopaedia of stones

Opal

The word "opal" comes from the Sanskrit Upala, through the Greek "opallios" which would indicate the color changes. It is a fascinating jewel and an incredible variety: it can present color schemes of all shades of the rainbow (like black opal), or impress with its deep, vibrant color and transparent, like the opal of fire of Mexico. We distinguish noble opals, very popular in jewelry for their iridescence, common opals.
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Colors
Colorless, white, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green, grey, brown, black

Family
Opal group

Origin

The opal is formed when water leaches silica and deposits it on layers of sandy clay during a drought. It is sometimes found instead of shells or bones. The location of the gems in the mine is therefore unpredictable, they must be searched by hand or with small machines to avoid the risk of breaking.
In the past, opals came from Egypt, India or Saudi Arabia. Nowadays, it is Australia that produces 90% of the opals sold in the world, precious gems and very high quality. These deposits were discovered by the German geologist Johannes Menge and 1849. One of them, Lightning Ridge, revealed opalized dinosaur skeletons.
Other opal producing countries are Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the United States.

Virtues

In meditation, opal is considered one of the most powerful stones for the soul. It is known as a stone that heals broken hearts and restores inner harmony. It is also said that she helps her wearer to discover true love.
The Greeks believed that opal was a source of hope and a symbol of purity. She was known to increase clairvoyance, to make meditation and reflection easier, to improve intuition.
Today in lithotherapy, we continue to attribute these virtues to opal. It calms and soothes, promotes love and tenderness, improves the sentimental life of Gemini and Aquarius. It opens the spirit to spiritual life and restores vitality to tired people. It is also the birthstone of October.

Specifications

La structure des opales est unique, et est constituée de microscopiques billes de dioxyde de silicium, arrangées selon une structure pyramidale entrelacée de veines d'eau. La réfraction de la lumière à travers les espaces entre ces sphères est à l'origine du jeu de couleurs caractéristique de l'Opale (l'opalescence). Ces éclairs de couleur se produisent en fonction du changement d'angle sous lequel l'opale est observée. Les opales sans jeu de couleur, comme l'opale de Feu sont celles dont le dioxyde de silicium est organisé de façon aléatoire.

Voici quelques types d’opales :
- L’opale de feu, de couleur rouge jacinthe à rouge feu, transparente à translucide ;
- L’opale blanche de lait, d’un blanc laiteux à blanc-jaune ou blanc-bleu, translucide avec un éclat vitreux à mat ; certaines comportent des veinules et des masses d’oxyde de manganèse, ce sont les opales dendritique.
- L’opale ligneuse est constituée de troncs ou de branches opalinisés. Les cernes du bois sont bien visibles. Cette opale est fragile.
- L’hydrophane (ou opale matrix) est blanche, mate et colle à la langue. Plutôt opaque, elle a la propriété de changer d'aspect si on la plonge dans l’eau. Elle devient alors plus transparente et peut s’iriser.
- L’Hyalite a une grande transparence, elle est incolore avec de légères nuances bleues ou vertes.
- L’opale de gelée est gris-bleu avec quelques jeux de lumière
- L’opale d’arlequin présente de magnifiques paillettes irisées de toutes les couleurs, elle est très prisée.

History

Opal stone, the national gem of Australia, appeared 110 million years ago, at the time of the dinosaurs. The great climatic changes that the planet experienced at that time resulted in large quantities of silica in solution, which subsequently accumulated in cracks and cavities, thus forming the opal.
Today, 95% of the world's opals are sourced from the Australian Outback. The rarest and most valuable are the black ones from the Lightning Ridge area.
The rich color scheme of some opals brings them exceptional splendor and a mystical aspect. That's why opal is considered one of the most fascinating and legendary stones. In Greek mythology, the gods saw opal as the embodiment of the beauty of all precious stones. It was said that the opals sheltered the tears of Zeus after his victory over the Titans.
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