Thursday, October 3, 2013

Opal, the Primary October Birthstone

For you lucky October babies, all the splendor of nature is reflected in the colorful opulence of your birthstone, the Opal: fire and lightning, all the colors of the rainbow and the soft hues of tropical sunrises. Australia is the most common country of origin. Almost ninety-five per cent of all fine opals come from the dry and remote outback deserts.

The name Opal was probably derived from Sanskrit “upala“, meaning ”valuable stone“. This was probably the root for the Greek term “opallios”, which translates as “color change”.

Opal’s color play attracts and fascinates, doesn‘t it? But what causes this phenomenon? This question was impossible to answer for a very long time. In the 1960s a team of Australian scientists analyzed Opals with an electron microscope, and it was discovered that small spheres from silica gel were responsible for the fantastic play of colors. The spheres, which are arranged in more or less compact structures, split the light on its passage through the gemstone and turn it into all the colors of the rainbow, always new and always different.


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