Opals are kind of unreal. From soft pearlescent hues hinting at hidden depths to full blown auroras captured and ensnared, the best thing about opals are the ‘flames’ contained within.
As with any fire, you need to keep stoking the flame, so it doesn’t fizzle out and die. Opals are one of October's birthstones.
Let’s get to know it better!
Opal often gets a bad rap, but let’s get this out of the way once and for all. Opals are not bad luck!
Even in relatively recent times. It's been considered bad luck due to a misinterpretation of Scottish poet and historical novelist, Sir Walter Scott’s novel ‘Anne of Geierstein’. In this tale, Hermione wore a gorgeous opal in her hair. However, with a sprinkle of holy water, the opal lost its luster and Hermione fainted. In the morning they found nothing but a pile of ash where she laid.
All very sad and dramatic, but the opal really wasn’t to blame.
Now keep in mind, back in the days, novels were published per chapter. If you somehow lost interest, and never got to read the proper ending, you’d assume the opal was in fact the cursed culprit.
Flipping the pages to the next chapter, it turns out that Hermione was poisoned. By then was too late for the opal; it was deemed cursed and this plunged opal prices to half its original value in one single year.
Personally, if we’re going to believe in stories, I prefer the belief that opals contain trapped lightning (an Arab belief), or that it can grant its wearer the powers of invisibility (Ancient Greek belief)!
Opals are silica-based stones, which means that unlike its super tough diamond friend, opals are more susceptible to damage. You know silica from those little packets inside your bag of crackers. It soaks up the humidity so your crackers stay crunchy. Except the silica opal is made of, took millions of years to form and comes in striking colors.
Opal rank between 5.5 - 6.5 on the Mohs scale, which makes it about as tough as glass. So while opals are the perfect companion to your hardships in life, they’re not your best friend during manual labor. Think of them as that friend who hates to break a sweat or get her hands dirty.
Don’t worry though, most solid opals are actually pretty easy to take care of. The main thing you need to remember is that opals contain about water, so they’re sensitive to changes in heat and humidity. For instance, don’t expose opal to super dry conditions like a zero humidity bank vault for long periods of time. Not exactly something you encounter daily, but heads up!
Opals are happier in a soft, velvety jewelry box in your drawers than in a bank vault. They also really don’t like rapid changes in temperature, that’s why it’s best to take your opals off if you’re cooking or it’s your first time lighting a campfire.
We mostly stock Australian opals which are pretty chill with water, but their Ethiopian counterparts called Welo opals are hydrophane. They soak up water like a sponge, and tend to change color or go dull over time. You can even put a drop of water on Welo opals and watch the water be absorbed! So it’s super duper important that you keep Welo opals away from water. Take it off when you’re about to do dishes, when you see storm clouds gathering above, and definitely take it off when you go for a swim!
Keep an eye out for our descriptions, because we’ll tell you the country of origin!
Here are 5 easy breezy tips to keep your opals in top notch condition:
Pat dry Welo opals with a soft cloth if it gets wet!
Store your opal jewelry in a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box.
Avoid ultrasonic cleaners. The vibrations don’t vibe with opals. They can actually cause it to crack and break!
If your stone loses its shine or gets scratched, take it to an opal cutter for a professional polishing.