If you wonder if opals are in, look no further than the 2014 Academy awards. Cate Blanchett won lavish praise for wearing a Chopard creation : 33 carats of opals in 18k white gold earrings.
OPALS may be getting renewed attention now, but they have been favorites for millennia. In 75 AD , the Roman scholar Pliny observed,”Some opals carry such such a play within them that they equal the deepest and richest colors of painters.” flecked in ruby red, emerald green, sapphire blue, topaz yellow, and amethyst purples, these multicolored marvels still attract.
The dazzling opal has a humble origin. A stunning play -of -color is the hallmark of opal.
Gemologists divide opals into seven categories:
1. Black opal’s background colors range from translucent to opaque black dark to gray, but should appear black in reflected light. The opal should show play-of-color.
2. White opal’s background colors range from translucent white to mediun gray. The opal should show play-of-color.
3. Crystal opal’s background colors range from transparent to semitransparent.The opal should have exceptional play-of-color.
4. Water opal’s background colors range from transparent to translucent .The opal has faint to no lay-of-color.
5. Boulder opal includes host-rock fragments as part of the finished gem.The opal shows play-of-color.
6. Fire opal’s background colors range from transparent to translucent reds, oranges and yellow. The opal may or may not show play-of-color.
7. Assembled opal is a combination of opals and other materials cemented together to improve durability and appearance.
A balanced combination of colors and the patterns on the stone contribute to the desirability of an opal. A prized specimen has either a harmonious or dramatic appearance, enhanced by complementary background colors.