Fire and Water

By: Jeffrey M. Bertman Graduate GemologistOpal, the birthstone for October, is an unusual mix of “fire and water” in that the gemstone is composed of a hardened silica gel that usually contains 2% to 6% (or more) water. Therefore, it actually benefits from exposure to water and humidity, as well as a light coat of oil. Its other unusual aspect is the flash of color (iridescence) that changes in accordance with the viewing angle. Precious opal occurs in a number of color varieties. The most popular is white opal, which provides a white backdrop for the dazzling play of blue, green, pink, and yellow colors. Black opals are a deep peacock blue or slate gray with flashing red, yellow, and green lights.Until the beginning of the 19th century, opals were relatively rare. But then interest in them boomed making them one of the most popular gemstones. Because of their consistency, opal jewelry should be worn as often as possible so they can receive the needed humidity from the air and from the skin of its wearer. Shop at 1402 Hancock Street, Quincy Center to select the perfect birthstone jewelry that is right for you as well as any other special gift or contact us at 617-773-3636.


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