Dahl Jewelers, Woodbridge, VA
Perhaps no other gem in the world has a mystique that can compare to the opal. Its beauty and its fire made the ancients believe that opal combined the virtues of all gems into one stone.
No less a person than Helen of Troy was credited with possessing an opal. This was a large opal of such fire and brilliance that, when she wore it, the colors appeared to drip from the stone and fall softly upon her breasts. Presumably, after the fall of Troy, both Helen and the opal were returned to Sparta.
Pliny also tells of a senator who had to flee Rome because he possessed an opal ring greatly desired by Antony. The ring, said to be the size of a
"hazel nut," was valued at two million sesterces. Although there is some question that the stone was truly what we call opal, Pliny's description makes it very difficult to think of another stone which would match closer than an opal.
Considered to be lucky stones for centuries, opal fell into disfavor in the nineteenth century and is only now coming back into real popularity.
Opal was believed to have a beneficial effect on one's sight and even have the ability to render the wearer invisible. In the East, the opal is believed to help preserve its wearer from disease. This belief explains why opals are widely used as amulets in that area.
In Europe, blonde maidens greatly valued opals above anything else for necklaces. It seems they believed that, while they wore opals, their hair would retain its beautiful color.
Opals can be found in a wide range of colors and with varying degrees of fire. So, whatever type of stone you're looking for, you will find an opal that suits your need.
Description of Opal Qualities That We Sell
Very high quality: Very intense broad flashes of color on white, jelly or light grey base. Surface color will have mix of intense reds with green and/or blues.
High quality: Intense broad color on white or jelly base. Surface color can have a mix of reds, greens and blues.
Medium quality: Good color, broad to pinpoint flashes of color, but not as intense as high quality. Available in reds, greens and blues with a milky to jelly base.
Low quality: Mainly white base with some slight surface color or transparent jelly opal with slight shades of greens and/or blues.
Please check here for a note about colored gemstone qualities.
Hardness: 5 to 6.5
Specific gravity: 2.15 (+/- .09)
Refractive index: 1.45
Main sources: Australia, Mexico
Treatment: Not currently known to be enhanced.
Reaction to heat: Very poor, cracking will occur.
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