A guide to October's Birthstone: Opal
By Hannah Wiggins, October 2022
What is a birthstone?
Birthstones are gemstones that are associated with your birth month, with most months having more than one recognised birthstone like October which is represented by Opals and Tourmalines!
What makes Opals so special?
Opals come in a variety of colours, transparency's, patterns and body tones with some even displaying a whole rainbow of colours! Each variety of opal has its own name too sometimes relating to its colour and sometimes relating to its host rock or locality. White Opal, Black Opal, Boulder Opal and Fire Opal are all different types of Opal to name a few...
What makes the rainbow effect seen in Opals?
This is known as the 'play of colour'. Opals do not have any crystal symmetry as they have no crystal lattice like diamonds do; instead opal is an amorphous material made up of silica spheres, oxygen and water. Occasionally, the spheres can aggregate together to make a symmetrical pattern - it is this formation that creates the amazing optical effect known as 'play of colour'. Our yellow gold double halo Opal ring displays a beautiful play of colour… shop here!
What is a Fire Opal?
Often mistaken for orange sapphires or orange spessartine garnets, fire opals are a transparent to translucent type of opal which are found in red, orange and yellow hues. True to their name fire opals form in ancient volcanoes with common localities including Mexico and South America. We love creating bespoke pieces that include fire opals! An unusual but stunning choice for a gemstone.
Are Opals suitable for jewellery?
Yes! Opals are a great choice for necklaces, earrings and dress rings. They are not as suitable for engagement rings due to their hardness being much less than the likes of diamond (Diamond’s have a Moh’s hardness of 10 where as Opals have a Moh’s hardness of 5.5 - 6.5). Therefore, Opal is a great choice for a dress ring as it won’t face the wear of daily life.
Do you have a question about Opals that you would love to know the answer too?
Get in touch! We would love to answer it for you… Contact us here!