Fall Gift Spotlight: 6 Curious Things About Opals

October 28, 2019

14K Yellow Gold with Opal and Multiple Gemstone Inlay Hummingbird Brooch

By Chelsea Reed

Looking into the window of galaxies, oceans and volcanic eruptions…that’s how writers have described the opal’s brilliant play of color. Soft, vibrant and filled with mystery, opals have captured the imaginations of people around the world. It’s a great gift to give your loved one for a special occasion! 

When you surprise them, you can also share these fun facts with them about this intriguing gemstone:

1. Its Name is Shrouded in Mystery

No one knows for sure how the delightful opal got its name. Some say it came from the Sanskrit word “upala,” which translates as “valuable stone.” Others say it stems from the Greek word “opallios,” meaning “to see a change of color.” Both stories are probably right! From Rome to Greece to Ethiopia, the beauty of opal has been revered by cultures for thousands of years. Even the Roman scholar Pliny raved about its kaleidoscope of colors in 75 AD!

2. A Stone for Many Occasions

Opal & Diamond Ring 14kt Rose GoldDid you know that opal is the national gemstone of Australia? It’s also the official gemstone for October birthdays and the 14th wedding anniversary. Opal is a versatile stone for many occasions. Earrings and pendants of opal are suitable for everyday wear. Rings and pendants, on the other hand, provide a perfect splash of color for formal occasions. Try wearing opal at your next ball or holiday gathering!

3. Stone of the Water

The chemical structure of opal is similar to beach sand and glass. It contains silica and about 10% water. Millions of tiny silica spheres reflect rainbow colors inside the opal. That’s why it’s a great memento for your beach trip!  Opal is formed when rainwater carries silicon deposits deep  into rock cracks. When the water evaporates, opal is left behind. 

4. Out of this World

Several years ago scientists found opal on Mars! Its discovery hints that water was on Mars a lot earlier than we thought. It’s one of the few gemstones discovered outside our planet, besides peridot and moldavite. Martian opal...who would have thought?

5. On the Soft Side

Opal rates between 5.5 and 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. That makes it somewhat of a softie. It’s durable enough to withstand everyday wear, yet gentle enough to store carefully with other gemstones. If you need to clean your opals, wash them with mild soap and water and a soft cloth. 

6. A Stone of Many Colors

Opal comes in a wide variety of types, and each one has its own play of color. There’s fire opal, crystal opal, boulder opal, white opal, water opal...and the super rare black opal. Blue opal is the most common, but its play of color can be just as gorgeous as the other ones!


What’s your favorite thing about opal? Do you have a cherished opal heirloom? We’d love to hear it on Facebook! And while you’re here, you can shop our estate jewelry collection now in the fall before the holiday rush begins. Enjoy the fall season! 

Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes online content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina.





Also in Blog

Karen Latham: The Call of the Wild and a Nature Loving Artist.
Karen Latham: The Call of the Wild and a Nature Loving Artist.

December 17, 2020

Karen Latham paints with her daughters Rebecca and Bonnie. The family of artists live in Minnesota where they are surrounded by mesmerizing scenery and wildlife. As Karen was painting art to get ready for The Wonderful World of Wildlife event at Seaside Art Gallery, she found the time to chat with us and answer a few questions about her career as an artist.

Continue Reading

Magic in a Quiet Moment. Get to Know Artist Rebecca Latham.
Magic in a Quiet Moment. Get to Know Artist Rebecca Latham.

December 17, 2020

Rebecca Latham is in her studio surrounded by the artwork she’s creating. Her favorite household cat is curled up next to her keeping her warm... with a rolling purr. With her paintings in sight, you can feel the knobby pines, the downy swans, and the wiry coat on the fox kit as she brings them to life on canvas.

It is in this setting that Rebecca shares the journey that brought her here.

Continue Reading

Evening Brilliance by Bonnie Latham
An Inspiring Artist. A Conversation with Bonnie Latham.

December 03, 2020

While Bonnie Latham was painting art to get ready for The Wonderful World of Wildlife event that is going on right now at Seaside Art Gallery, we found her in her studio and asked her a few questions about her career as an artist.

Here’s a look at a fun one-to-one chat with Bonnie.

Continue Reading

Back to top