October's Birthstones Round One. Opal
You know how some people just go crazy for the fall? - I’m one of those people. I’m suddenly more energized and the world feels like it is as well. It’s as if every last bit of energy is being put out into the world before winter’s hibernation. I walk around with my head to the sky staring at the trees. Colors that never cease to completely astound me spring from leaves I’ve taken for granted all summer. Maybe it’s because this all happens in October and I’m so smitten that Octobers birthstones are my favorite as well. All you lucky people out there, take note. Let’s start this week with Opal and next week we’ll move onto my other favorite, Tourmaline.
Opal is fascinating because in it’s structure there’s a lot of water. Typically it’s somewhere between 3 and 27% of the total weight. It carries with it a reputation for being a very soft stone, easily scratched and occasionally brittle. For that very reason it's been carved throughout history into some very unique shapes.
For proper care of your opals, it's best to know what you have and refer to experts like these for the best advice. Be excited but wary of the opal! There are many people who will try to sell you fake opal. If you think you're getting a great price it's probably not the real deal. Fakes have included tinsel set into resin and can be hard for the untrained eye to distinguish.
Ok, the not so exciting stuff done. Let’s get to the cool scienc-y part. Opal’s form the same way that petrified wood does. That said, all organic material has been replaced with minerals. In this instance silica. It’s formation allows light to diffract to create all the color (we like to call it fire) you see. Red’s are the most rare while green, blue, even seemingly UV purple can present. There have been such incredible finds as a dinosaur jaw completely overtaken by opal but I'm loving this pinecone.
Here’s an example I was lucky enough to hold. It’s called a Koroite Opal and words cannot do it justice. It’s as if someone painted an incredibly detailed psychedelic picture with every color you can imagine and then some on a rock, then added light from the inside. Not to mention the fact that this one is so rare it fits in the palm of your hand and would cost you well over 40 grand. As for me, I’ll keep this picture around to dream about. What are your thoughts about them? Fan or Meh?
Need a break from your day? Take a deep breath and watch this three minute video called The Mountain by TSO Photography.