The Intriguing Beauty of Opals
Australian Bolder Opal
Mined exclusively in the opal fields of Australia where 90% of the worlds’ opal is produced, Australian Boulder Opal is the only opal that naturally forms on a hard ironstone base. Left intact when carved, this hard “matrix” makes Boulder Opal the most durable and thermal resistant opal available. The stones unique internal structure diffracts light in a spectrum of phenomenal radiant flash and color, making each piece a one-of-a-kind natural masterpiece. Our Boulder Opal comes from a private mine in the heart of opal country and naturally forms bringing out the best play-of-color and flash possible. We individually design each setting to highlight the opals intrinsic beauty. To own a Boulder Opal is to possess a piece of nature – the master of intriguing, limitless beauty.
A recent find in the world of gemstones, Ethiopian Opal is just beginning its journey to greatness. Its spectacular intensity, color and flash, combined with its resistance to thermal shock, make this opal an irresistible choice for jewelry design. Mined by Ethiopian farmers in great canyon walls, this opal is brought to market by the common folks but there is definitely nothing common about its glorious range of green, red and orange flash. Our gem cutter personally selects his opal stock and hand carves each piece to bring out the best phenomenal color. And he has personally tested this opal for strength and durability. The size of the Ethiopian find is unknown at this time so enjoy collecting this stone with the knowledge that it could be here today and gone tomorrow!
Caring For Your Opal Jewelry
Never use an ultrasonic cleaner on your opal jewelry. It is too strong and could cause permanent damage. Do not use hot water or extremely cold water on opal jewelry. Temperature change can crack the stone, just like it does to glass.
Store each piece of opal jewelry in its own padded bag or case. It can get scratched if it rubs against your other jewelry.
Solid opal can be cleaned with a soft detergent in warm water using a soft cloth or brush. Once cleaned the opal should be rinsed in clean water to remove any residue.
Opal is a unique and beautiful gemstone which will last indefinitely if properly cared for. Generally speaking you should treat your precious opal with the same care and respect as you would with any fine jewelry.
While there are some special requirements, caring for opal is really very simple providing that you keep in mind two basic facts about opal:
First, most precious opal contains about 5% water or more. Therefore, opal can craze or crack when subjected to harsh, dry conditions and rapid changes of temperature. However, Australian Boulder and Ethiopian Opals are a tougher and a more thermal resistant form of opal.
Second, opal has a hardness of about 5.5 to 6.5 measured on the Mohs' scale of hardness – compared to diamonds at 10, or topaz at 8. Therefore, opal like any other gemstone can be broken, chipped, scratched, or lose its shine with heavy wear and tear.
Generally, white based and black based opals, if exposed to heat or stored in dry airtight places, including safety deposit boxes, can cause the opal to lose moisture and dehydrate. That is why we primarily sell Australian Boulder Opal. It comes carved in tact in the "mother matrix", ironstone. This rock gives it an added base of protection even in storage. We also welcome Ethiopian Opal into the family of "more dehydration resistant" opals.