Thursday, April 29, 2010

"O" is for Opals - Alphabe Thursday, April 27, 2010

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday

I was born October 3, 1944 in Columbus, Georgia.  That makes me a Libra and my birthstone is the opal, one of the world's loveliest gemstones.  I wish I could say I had an entire collection of opals but, in reality, I possess one opal ring with a few Infinitesimal diamonds and a lovely crown pendant set in opals ( not very fiery ), again with a smattering of infiitesimal diamonds.  I have seen some incredible pieces of opal jewelry, during a visit to Australia in January of 1994 when I did a wonderful twelve day cruise from Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand.  Australia produces over 90% of the world's opals  ( it is their national gemstone ) although some come from Virgin Valley in northern Nevada, Spencer, Idaho, the  Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ethiopia.  According to NASA reports, opal deposits have even been found on Mars!

Photo by Opals on

This semi-black doublet came from the Grawin Fields of
Lightning Ridge, Australia

An opal is a rather complicated gem and there is much to know when buying one.  The internet has several good web sites with information on opals.
Check out wikipedia:,
the GB Jewelers website at:,

Photo  by Opals on

Opals on black doublet

Opals are composed of the noncrystalline form of the mineral silica and water, ranging from about three to ten percent but sometimes up to twenty percent.  They come in a range of colors.  The rarest and most valuable are red and black opals.

An opal is able to reflect and refract  specific wavelengths of light which is what makes this stone so special. 

Photo by Opals on

Opal on black doublet

They do require special care.  Since it is considered a "living" stone, it must not be worn when doing dishes, gardening, worn in a sauna or hot tub.  Heat is not good for opals.  Do not use an ultrasonic cleaner on them.  Clean only with water or facial soap and a nonabrasive pad or cloth.  Don't store them in oil.  However, DO wear them.

Many superstitions have been linked to opals.  Some consider them unlucky stones and its owners have met with disaster and death.  Others say these curses have befallen only those not born in the month of October.  So, if any of you have opals you want to discard, I'll be happy to send you my address.  

As for my dream of buying an opal in Australia, what happened to that?  What with having to purchase my flight to Sydney and home from Auckland, pay for the twelve day cruise, purchase two nights hotel in Sydney and Auckland ( and eat - heavens knows, I had fabulous meals at the beginning and end of my trip - plus exquisite wines in that part of the world ), my opal budget was down to $150 US.  I had a huge array of opals from which to choose - literally thousands of the world's most incredible stones but I found nothing in Sydney or Melbourne in my price range.  Sadly, at the last store in which I shopped in Hobart, Tasmania, I had given up.  It was time to get back to the ship.  I explained my situation to the shopkeeper who smiled and pulled out a small - but lovely - ring, set with three opals.  "You can have this for $150 U. S.  Joy of joys, on my finger it went, to the ship I went and I wore that opal for years.  The center stone finally fell out and, though I had it reset twice, it just wouldn't stay in place.  

I guess I should have gotten back to Australia before my job ended. 


  1. I was born in October too. I have a couple of Opals.

  2. Glad you got your opal ring eventually, opals are very pretty and so varied too.

  3. lovely lesson on opals :D

  4. i have an opal ring ... i wasnt born in october and i havent had any bad luck that i can directly attribute to the ring, however it did pass it to my Libra daughter just to be safe ...

  5. When I was growing up, my dad loved to work in lapidary. Back then you could get good rough opals out of Australia. He did make me one, but I wore it and wasn't very careful and it cracked. I guess you could say he had an "obsession with opals." I do have an opal ring my mom bought in Hong Kong -- it is very beuatiful. I am glad that you were able to purchase one. Joni

  6. WOW!--- Lots I've learnt here today... No doubt you are one of those gems!



  7. What a beautiful month stone! I arrived a week late and ended up with the topaz.

  8. Carmen. These opals are lovely. I was always intriqued with them...but I literally knew nothing at all about them.

    What a lovely birthstone you have!

    Thanks for an outstanding stop on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's Letter "O"!


  9. i've always loved opals but can't say that i knew anything about them. you've enlightened me. i just knew you were a southern-born girl, carmen!

  10. I have a pretty little opal ring that was given to me by my MIL. I let my daughter wear it on special occasions since she loves it. And eventually it will be hers.

  11. Yay I am finally feeling well enough to visit, I love opals but have been told if they are not your birthstone it is bad luck to wear them. Is this true?.......:-) Hugs

  12. What an interesting post - I love opals. When The Great Dane finished a rather strenuous training that had required me to be alone, move twice on my own etc etc he bought me a thank-you gift of an antique opal ring - I treasure it.

  13. I did not know opals were Australia's national gemstone! But this I do know-- everyone who owns, ever owned, or plans to own an opal is going to die. Of course, so will everyone who doesn't own, has never owned, and will never own an opal, but we'll keep quiet about that-- it sort of spoils the fun of the superstition!

  14. When I was a girl I thought opals were the most beautiful stone imaginable. But I haven't worn any stones since my one diamond in a long time. You've encouraged me to go hunt for my girl hood ring. Interesting post and great information. Sorry your setting eventually ceased to hold.

  15. i always heard that if you buy yourself opals and it isn't your birthstone, then it is bad luck. I don't think it is true though :)