The national gemstone of Australia, where more than 95 percent of this precious stone is found, opal has a unique coloring reminiscent of neon flames or perhaps a brilliant sunset in the Outback. Containing hues from many other gemstones, opal contains small spheres of silica that refract light in a unique and mesmerizing play of colors.
Opal is the birthstone for October, along with tourmaline, and birthed its own adjective to help describe its fantastic interplay of color – opalescence. These intense colors flash as the gemstone is rotated or viewed from varying angles.
Opals contain moisture, as they were created through the combination of silica and water, and therefore are sensitive to heat and are relatively soft. Opal also comes in several varieties, including black, semi-black, light, white, boulder, and matrix opal. This rainbow gem is truly in a league of its own, and collectors wanting the best from a wide range of colors and characteristics need look no further.