Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October Birthstone – Opal – Libra

 
The Opal was called "Cupid Paederos" by the Romans, meaning a child beautiful as love.  A legend gives the gemstone's origin as “it fell from heaven in a flash of fiery lightning.” 
Ancient monarchs treasured Opals, both for their beauty and for their presumed protective powers.  They were set into crowns and worn in necklaces to ward off evil and to protect the eyesight.  These gemstones were also ground and ingested for their healing properties and to ward off nightmares. 

Opal & Rose Quartz Necklace Opal Galactic Earrings
opal necklace opal earrings
Swarovski Opal Ring Watermelon Tourmaline – Alternate October Birthstone
opal ring watermelon tourmaline necklace
The Opal dates back to prehistoric times.  It is a non-crystallized silica, which is a mineral found near the earth's surface in areas where ancient geothermal hot springs once existed.  As the hot springs dried up, layers of the silica, combined with water, were deposited into the cracks and cavities of the bedrock, forming Opal.  This gemstone actually contains up to 30% water, so it must be protected from heat or harsh chemicals, both of which will cause drying and may lead to cracking and loss of iridescence.  Opal must also be guarded from blows, since it is relatively soft and breaks easily.  
Most of the world's Opal deposits are found in Southern Australia.  Other sources are Brazil, Mexico, Czechoslovakia and Nevada.  Quality Opal is very expensive, because it requires special care when cutting, polishing and setting into jewelry.
Alternate Birthstones: Peridot, Agate, Aquamarine,  Tourmaline and Sapphire
An alternate birthstone for October, Pink Tourmaline has the seemingly magical property of pyroelectricity.  Scientifically speaking, this means that when heated, the gem takes on a static electric charge, making it capable of attracting lightweight objects.

Purple Opal Euro Charm Bead Blue Peru Opal Labradorite Bracelet
opal_purple bead blue peru opal bracelet
Opal Care Very heat sensitive, clean with warm or room temperature soap and water. Avoid wearing gem where it will get rough treatment.
  • Opals are delicate, but well worth the care. Their most significant weakness has to do with the water content. If an opal is allowed to dry, it will crack and craze. In most cases, they do not need any special care while stored. However, if you live in a very dry climate, or keep them in a dehumidified room, some precautions are necessary. Keeping them in a tight plastic bag, with a damp piece of cotton or fabric will prevent dehydration.
  • Storing an opal in oil or glycerin is not recommended. It is unlikely to damage the opal, but it is unnecessary and requires tedious cleaning.
  • Because of their water content, opals are also highly sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. I know of a woman in Pennsylvania who wore a brooch on the outside of her coat. As she passed from the warmth of her house to the winter cold, there was an audible "crack" as her opal self-destructed.
  • Opals do not mind being hot or cold, it is the rate of change that damages them. You need to avoid situation like the one above, going from a warm house to the winter's cold. Simply wearing an opal under clothing will protect them. Also, do not store opals near a heat source, an open window, etc., where they can be exposed to sudden temperature changes.
  • Being somewhat soft, they scratch easily. Realize that a large component of dust is quartz at 7 in hardness. At 5.5 to 6 in hardness, simply wiping the dust off an opal will gradually reduce its polish. The solution is to clean your opals using a soft cloth or brush, a mild detergent, and room temperature water. Then rinse the jewels to remove any residue.
caution that must be exercised in cutting, polishing and setting it into jewelry.  
A gift of Opal is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence.  And the powerful energy radiating from this fiery gemstone will surely illuminate any occasion!
Opals correspond to the astrological sign of Libra - The sign of the Scales - September 23 - October 23
Opal October birthstone originally appeared on Linda B’s blog








31 comments:

  1. My very own birthstone ... wonderful article, Linda!

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  2. It's my birthstone too! Thank you for all of the interesting info about it!

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  3. Wow... great information! Thanks Linda!

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  4. Wow, this is very interesting. I did not know that opal's could crack from extreme temperatures. Learn something new everyday :-)

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  5. Who doesn't love opal!!! Some great finds. Thanks Linda!

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  6. Wow -such an interesting post! Thank you!

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  7. Gorgeous and what very informative and helpful details too. Thank you. I was born in the first half of Libra so my birthstone just misses this one.

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  8. I love Opal, particularly the Pink. Lots of facsinating facts

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  9. Opal a very very pretty stone Love how it goes with anything

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  10. Great article. Opals are such a dynamic stone. The colors are varied and change in the light. Raw opal is presented in water to show the cutting possibilities. There are whole rooms dedicated to opal sellers at the big Tucson Gem and Mineral show each year. A really good opal will set you back a lot of $$$$ (naturally, sigh...)

    Thanks for sharing.

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  11. I love Opal! Thank you, Linda, for doing all the research on this lovely gem!

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    1. I enjoy researching and am already working on November, which is my birthstone.

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  12. Very informative and good tips too! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. love all these items Opals are so glam!!!

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  14. Linda great job, love the opal stone it is so amazing.

    Thanks for the great information

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  15. Love the Opal & Rose Quartz Necklace... WoW !!!!

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  16. I love opals! Nice selections! I wear my grandmother's opal ring everyday :-)

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  17. Beautiful! Opal is my mother's birthstone! Love the opal & rose quartz piece!

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  18. I love opals! My mother has a beautiful opal ring with European faceted diamonds that is just gorgeous when she wears it. Thank you for the wonderful information!

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  19. LOVE the blog. Such wonderful information you found! I love all the "obscure" facts!

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  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  21. Uniquecozytreasures - I NEVER KNEW ALL OF THIS. THANKS FOR THE INFO.

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  22. Uniquecozytreasures - I NEVER KNEW ALL OF THIS. THANKS FOR THE INFO.

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  23. Uniquecozytreasures - I NEVER KNEW ALL OF THIS. THANKS FOR THE INFO.

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  24. Uniquecozytreasures - I NEVER KNEW ALL OF THIS. THANKS FOR THE INFO.

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  25. Very good work.Can you please update more ? I am really interested to learn more about it. Thanks..

    opal silver jewelry

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