Opals - meaning, history, fashion and care tips
Welcome to the Irit Sorokin Design blog! In this space you can look forward to learning about my jewelry making process, my inspirations and some of the materials I use in my handmade jewelry, created in Vancouver, Canada. I often use natural gems and metals in my work and love sharing about the meaning of those gems and the individual journey that goes into each handmade piece of jewelry.
(Check the online store for Opal Jewelry)
Opal is a beautiful kaleidoscopic gem that is the birthstone for the month of October. The name comes from the Greek “oppallios” which means “change of colour”. Opals are also known as “opalus” in Ancient Rome, which translates as "precious stone." Most of the world’s opals come from Australia.
Physical: While the exact cause of opal formation is still disputed, it is believed that opals form when rain becomes trapped inside rock. This trapped droplet of rain carries the crystalline silica of the rock downwards. Then, over millions of years, the silica eventually dries out and forms silica spheres. It is these spheres that cause light to refract, thus creating the multicoloured magic of this stone. There are two types of opals: precious and common, precious has flashes of colour.
Meaning: The opal is believed to inspire originality as well as boost creativity, making it a perfect stone for artists. Opals are also considered to be highly protective, and can even act to stabilize emotions.
When it comes to romance, the opal has always been associated with love and passion, as well as desire and eroticism. It is a seductive stone that is believed to intensify emotional states while releasing inhibitions. Wearing an opal is also said to inspire loyalty and faithfulness. The opal is traditionally given to celebrate the 14th year of marriage.
Opals in history and fame
One of the most famous opals in current pop culture is the opal that is featured prominently in a recent crime thriller starring Adam Sandler that it inspired the very title of Uncut Gems. The film portrays the captivating inner play of light that is unique to these stones.
The world’s largest uncut black opal is called “Halley’s Comet” and is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as weighing an astounding 1982.5 carats.
Academy award winning actress Cate Blanchett is known to be a big fan of opals – not least because, as an Australian, they are her national gemstone.
Opal Style tips
Opals, and other neutral gemstones like diamonds and pearls, can be used to attract attention to the face. A pair of opal earrings, like seen here on Cate Blanchett, adds a sparkle that frames your face and draws the attention of the eye.
An Opal can take your look from casual to classy with a simple shimmering opal. It is a fragile stone though so it is not recommend to be worn every day or during heavy work or in situations with poor weather exposure.
Care and cleaning for Opals
Opals are porous gemstones and it is important not to submerge opals in water, and to avoid chemical cleaners or solutions, even Windex, to avoid damage.
Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe the stone and jewelry clean. Opals can also be sensitive to light, heat, and even perfume, so they should be stored properly or they may become discoloured.
I usually have some unique and breathtaking opal pieces in my online store, it is a beautiful gem to create handmade jewelry with. Shop all Opal pieces in my online store and get your very own opal gem jewelry shipped right to your door.
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