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Rodion Horns
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Buy Opal Stone [VERIFIED]



Opals are in a class by themselves. As a species, opal is so unique it has its own descriptive vocabulary. More than any other gem, each opal is distinctly individual. Opals are also the most delicate gemstones commonly worn and require special care.




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Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica (SiO2nH2O); its water content may range from 3 to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6 and 10%. Due to its amorphous property, it is classified as a mineraloid, unlike crystalline forms of silica, which are considered minerals. It is deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock, being most commonly found with limonite, sandstone, rhyolite, marl, and basalt.


There are two broad classes of opal: precious and common. Precious opal displays play-of-color (iridescence); common opal does not.[5] Play-of-color is defined as "a pseudo chromatic optical effect resulting in flashes of colored light from certain minerals, as they are turned in white light."[6] The internal structure of precious opal causes it to diffract light, resulting in play-of-color. Depending on the conditions in which it formed, opal may be transparent, translucent, or opaque, and the background color may be white, black, or nearly any color of the visual spectrum. Black opal is considered the rarest, while white, gray, and green opals are the most common.


Visible light cannot pass through large thicknesses of the opal. This is the basis of the optical band gap in a photonic crystal. The notion that opals are photonic crystals for visible light was expressed in 1995 by Vasily Astratov's group.[10] In addition, microfractures may be filled with secondary silica and form thin lamellae inside the opal during its formation. The term Opalescence is commonly used to describe this unique and beautiful phenomenon, which in gemology is termed play of color. In gemology, opalescence is applied to the hazy-milky-turbid sheen of common or potch opal which does not show a play of color.[clarification needed] Opalescence is a form of adularescence.


For gemstone use, most opal is cut and polished to form a cabochon. "Natural" opal refers to polished stones consisting wholly of precious opal. Opals too thin to produce a "Natural" opal may be combined with other materials to form "composite" gems. An opal doublet consists of a relatively thin layer of precious opal, backed by a layer of dark-colored material, most commonly ironstone, dark or black common opal (potch), onyx, or obsidian. The darker backing emphasizes the play of color and results in a more attractive display than a lighter potch. An opal triplet is similar to a doublet but has a third layer, a domed cap of clear quartz or plastic on the top. The cap takes a high polish and acts as a protective layer for the opal. The top layer also acts as a magnifier, to emphasize the play of color of the opal beneath, which is often an inferior specimen or an extremely thin section of precious opal. Triplet opals tend to have a more artificial appearance and are not classed as precious gemstones, but rather "composite" gemstones. Jewelry applications of precious opal can be somewhat limited by opal's sensitivity to heat due primarily to its relatively high water content and predisposition to scratching.[11] Combined with modern techniques of polishing, a doublet opal can produce a similar effect to Natural black or boulder opal at a fraction of the price. Doublet opal also has the added benefit of having genuine opal as the top visible and touchable layer, unlike triplet opals.


Besides the gemstone varieties that show a play of color, the other kinds of common opal include the milk opal, milky bluish to greenish (which can sometimes be of gemstone quality); resin opal, which is honey-yellow with a resinous luster; wood opal, which is caused by the replacement of the organic material in wood with opal;[12] menilite, which is brown or grey; hyalite, a colorless glass-clear opal sometimes called Muller's glass; geyserite, also called siliceous sinter, deposited around hot springs or geysers; and diatomaceous earth, the accumulations of diatom shells or tests. Common opal often displays a hazy-milky-turbid sheen from within the stone. In gemology, this optical effect is strictly defined as opalescence which is a form of adularescence.


Fire opal is a transparent to translucent opal, with warm body colors of yellow to orange to red. Although it does not usually show any play of color, occasionally a stone will exhibit bright green flashes. The most famous source of fire opals is the state of Querétaro in Mexico; these opals are commonly called Mexican fire opals. Fire opals that do not show a play of color are sometimes referred to as jelly opals. Mexican opals are sometimes cut in their rhyolitic host material if it is hard enough to allow cutting and polishing. This type of Mexican opal is referred to as a Cantera opal. Another type of opal from Mexico, referred to as Mexican water opal, is a colorless opal that exhibits either a bluish or golden internal sheen.[14]


Girasol opal is a term sometimes mistakenly and improperly used to refer to fire opals, as well as a type of transparent to semitransparent type milky quartz from Madagascar which displays an asterism, or star effect when cut properly. However, the true girasol opal[14] is a type of hyalite opal that exhibits a bluish glow or sheen that follows the light source around. It is not a play of color as seen in precious opal, but rather an effect from microscopic inclusions. It is also sometimes referred to as water opal, too, when it is from Mexico. The two most notable locations of this type of opal are Oregon and Mexico.[15]


Peruvian opal (also called blue opal) is a semi-opaque to opaque blue-green stone found in Peru, which is often cut to include the matrix in the more opaque stones. It does not display a play of color. Blue opal also comes from Oregon and Idaho in the Owyhee region, as well as from Nevada around the Virgin Valley.[16]


Opal was rare and very valuable in antiquity. In Europe, it was a gem prized by royalty.[18][19] Until the opening of vast deposits in Australia in the 19th century the only known source was Červenica beyond the Roman frontier in Slovakia.[20] Opal is the national gemstone of Australia.[21]


The Mintabie Opal Field in South Australia located about 250 km (160 mi) northwest of Coober Pedy has also produced large quantities of crystal opal and the rarer black opal. Over the years, it has been sold overseas incorrectly as Coober Pedy opal. The black opal is said to be some of the best examples found in Australia.


Andamooka in South Australia is also a major producer of matrix opal, crystal opal, and black opal. Another Australian town, Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, is the main source of black opal, opal containing a predominantly dark background (dark gray to blue-black displaying the play of color), collected from the Griman Creek Formation.[30] Boulder opal consists of concretions and fracture fillings in a dark siliceous ironstone matrix. It is found sporadically in western Queensland, from Kynuna in the north, to Yowah and Koroit in the south.[31] Its largest quantities are found around Jundah and Quilpie in South West Queensland. Australia also has opalized fossil remains, including dinosaur bones in New South Wales[32] and South Australia,[33] and marine creatures in South Australia.[34]


It has been reported that Northern African opal was used to make tools as early as 4000 BC.[citation needed] The first published report of gem opal from Ethiopia appeared in 1994, with the discovery of precious opal in the Menz Gishe District, North Shewa Province.[35] The opal, found mostly in the form of nodules, was of volcanic origin and was found predominantly within weathered layers of rhyolite.[36] This Shewa Province opal was mostly dark brown in color and had a tendency to crack. These qualities made it unpopular in the gem trade. In 2008, a new opal deposit was found approximately 180 km north of Shewa Province, near the town of Wegel Tena, in Ethiopia's Wollo Province. The Wollo Province opal was different from the previous Ethiopian opal finds in that it more closely resembled the sedimentary opals of Australia and Brazil, with a light background and often vivid play-of-color.[37] Wollo Province opal, more commonly referred to as "Welo" or "Wello" opal, has become the dominant Ethiopian opal in the gem trade.[38]


The Virgin Valley[39] opal fields of Humboldt County in northern Nevada produce a wide variety of precious black, crystal, white, fire, and lemon opal. The black fire opal is the official gemstone of Nevada. Most of the precious opal is partial wood replacement. The precious opal is hosted and found in situ within a subsurface horizon or zone of bentonite, which is considered a "lode" deposit. Opals which have weathered out of the in situ deposits are alluvial and considered placer deposits. Miocene-age opalised teeth, bones, fish, and a snake head have been found. Some of the opal has high water content and may desiccate and crack when dried. The largest producing mines of Virgin Valley have been the famous Rainbow Ridge,[40] Royal Peacock,[41] Bonanza,[42] Opal Queen,[43] and WRT Stonetree/Black Beauty[44] mines. The largest unpolished black opal in the Smithsonian Institution, known as the "Roebling opal",[45] came out of the tunneled portion of the Rainbow Ridge Mine in 1917, and weighs 2,585 carats (517.0 g; 18.24 oz). The largest polished black opal in the Smithsonian Institution comes from the Royal Peacock opal mine in the Virgin Valley, weighing 160 carats (32 g; 1.1 oz), known as the "Black Peacock".[46]


Opal occurs in significant quantity and variety in central Mexico, where mining and production first originated in the state of Querétaro. In this region the opal deposits are located mainly in the mountain ranges of three municipalities: Colón, Tequisquiapan and Ezequiel Montes. During the 1960s through to the mid-1970s, the Querétaro mines were heavily mined. Today's opal miners report that it was much easier to find quality opals with a lot of fire and play of color back then, whereas today the gem-quality opals are very hard to come by and command hundreds of US dollars or more. They gave an orangey opaque lustre, which is called the "Mexican fire opal". 041b061a72


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