October is the Month for Opals

 2021 is moving quickly! October is the Month for Opals

              What do you know about Them?

So, how many friends and relatives do you have or know that were born in October?

If you have to ask when any relative's or friend's birthday is… Then you are really falling down on the job! The first order of business then is – find out when all of your friend's and relative's birthdays happen to be – be prepared. If any of them are in October, then you have come to the right place because October is all about Opal!

Opals are the birthstone for October (and a suggested gift for that 14th wedding anniversary). They’re also the national gemstone of Australia, the country that supplies the majority of these gems throughout the world. Opals are an attractive and fascinating stone. The ancient Romans thought opals were the most precious and powerful of gems, because they encompassed all the colors of other gems combined.

However, you are not in the dry, arid, parched, oppressive, desert outback of Australia. Instead, you are here on this North American continent. And, the largest opal mine in the entire Dominion of Canada lies amidst the forested outback in the Okanagan Region of British Columbia...a far more beautiful and romantic place to obtain heirloom jewelry, at least from our perspective.

Guaranteed, once you look at a beautiful opal it will capture your imagination like no other gemstone. Knowing about opals makes them even more valuable to those who own them.

Here is a quick lesson in opals for the novice: An opal is rare and precious. Each one can take tens of thousands of years to form. A member of the quartz group, each one is unique, with a separate and distinct pattern and sparkle from a continuously changing play-of- colors.

These colorful stones can take on varying hues of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, olive; all on a base color from white to gray, brown even black. Red on black is the rarest, with white and green being the most common. They can be opaque, translucent or transparent. All these factor have an impact on an opals value.

The origin of the opal’s play-of-color, long a mystery, was discovered in the 1960s, with the aid of an electron microscope. The tiny silica spheres that compose an opal can be arranged in an orderly pattern that diffracts the light entering the stone splitting white light into spectral colors. The density and pattern of the aligned silica spheres are responsible for the different colors refracted in the opal; it’s scintillation. Broad patterns (large flashes of color) of rolling flash fire making it seem alive are more valuable than pinfire and small patterns. Distinct patterns are rare, and include harlequin, jigsaw, block and ribbon. Look them up! You will be fascinated by the variations and details.

The vibrancy(brilliance/brightness) of an opal’s colors is directly related to its value. Dominant colors, in value order, are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Most opal gemstones are cut and polished to form a cabochon; a stone with a convex top and flat bottom. They often have an elliptical (oval). Other are cut more freeform shape with irregular top. The stone is best suited to jewelry crafted as rings, pendants, brooches and earrings.

Fire opals, clear orange base colored opal, can be facet cut.




Caring for Opals

Opals are neither a hard rock nor tough stone, they should be treated with care. A few tips:

  • 1. Remove your opal jewelry before playing sports, gardening, household cleaning and bathing.
  • 2. Avoid knocking or scraping the stone; protect it from scratches and blows. Remember, exposed corners can chip. Avoid sudden extreme temperature changes.
  • 3. Opals should never be subjected to harsh cleansers or an ultrasonic cleaning. They should also not be exposed to abrasive chemicals, acids or oils. Instead, softly rub with facial tissue or a piece of silk. Clean gently with mild detergent in room-temperature water and a soft toothbrush, Q-tip or cloth, and rinse to remove any residue. Opals are can be porous; do not soak them. Never immerse a doublet or triplet as the layers may separate.
  • 4. Even though opals contain water (3 to 20 percent), they may become brittle. It’s imperative that they aren’t stored too dry or exposed to heat over a long period of time, causing them to crack and craze. With this in mind, store your opal jewelry in a padded cloth bag. For long-term storage, place the opal in cotton wool with a few drops of water and seal in a plastic bag. No safety deposit boxes.
  • 5. Have your opal jewelry setting inspected regularly for loose stones or lifted claws. A professional polishing can bring new life to an opal that has become dull or has been scratched.


 You should be aware that Opals have a rich, varied folklore. Dubbed the “Queen of Gems” by the ancient Romans, they’ve been considered a talisman and revered as a symbol of hope, fidelity and purity. Queen Victoria had an impressive collection of opals, and wore them throughout her reign. Additionally, the gemstone was celebrated throughout the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements in the early 20th Century. Rumors of opals being bad luck are based on a popular novel – fiction not fact.

Among the world’s famous opals:

  • Addeman Plesiosaur – This is the finest known opalized skeleton on earth.
  • Andamooka Opal (also known as the Queen’s Opal) – A cut and polished 203-carat opal that was presented to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her first visit to South Australia. It displays reds, blues and greens.
  • Flame Queen Opal – This triangular-shaped opal is the best-known example of “eye-of-opal,” an eye-like effect created when an opal in-fills a cavity. Its flat central raised dome flashes red or gold, depending on the angle of view, with a band of deep blue-green surrounding it.
  • Galaxy Opal – Listed as the “World’s Largest Polished Opal” way back in the 1992 Guinness Book of World Records, the finished piece, in the shape of a child’s head, weighs 3,749 carats. It has never been exceeded.
  • Halley’s Comet Opal – The world’s largest uncut black opal
  • Olympic Australis – This stone is noted to be the world’s largest and most valuable gem opal ever found.
  • Robling Opal – This 2,585 carat black opal with flashes of blue and green play-of-color, is at the Smithsonian Institution.
  • The Burning of Troy – This black and red stone with a hit of green at the very edge was presented to the Empress Josephine by Napoleon. Currently lost to public record, it was the first named opal.


Well? What are you waiting for?

Contact us today at opalresources@uniserve.com or visit our website at www.opalscanada.com to order up before October gets here!