Opal Gemstone Guide

Opal Gemstone

Opal Gemstone

There are two varieties of opal, precious opal and common opal. Common opal is often opaque while precious opal shows flashes of colour known as iridescence. The iridescence in precious Opal makes fabulous jewellery. At H. Samuel we have a selection of opal jewellery from very popular opal rings to earrings and pendants. Opal can look fabulous set in both gold and silver. Opal is the birthstone for the month of October. Opal jewellery will therefore make a great gift for October birthdays. Jewellery featuring an opal gemstone would be a perfect for either the celebration of an October new born or the christening of an October born baby.


Precious opal occurs in a number of colour varieties. The iridescence of precious opal is caused by the way the structure, a regular arrangement of tiny silica spheres, diffracts light 7 – the larger the spheres, the greater the range of colours.

Sourcing of opal

Over 95% of the world's supply of Opal is from Australia, although it can also be found in the USA, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Opal is found in the cavities or as veins through many types of rock. Opals can also be synthesised in a laboratory.

Caring for opal

Store opal jewellery away from other stones to avoid scratching and damage as opal is quite a soft stone. Opal is a hardened silica gel containing 5-10% water the water content of an opal also makes it prone to drying out and cracking. Storing in a tight plastic bag with a damp cloth will prevent dehydration.

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