Composed of silica beads, the opal stone is classified as either noble or common according to the arrangement of its beads. In noble opals, the beads are ordered as in the common ones, they are disordered. This order allows the highly sought after play of color, as well as the size of the beads determines the different colors of the plays.
Known since Antiquity, the term opal comes from the Sanskrit word “upala”, meaning precious stone. Because of numerous superstitions, the gem was depreciated during the Middle Ages. It was only at the end of the 19th century that the opal was once again appreciated, thanks to Queen Victoria. The main Australian deposits are Coober Pedy and Lightning Ridge. Their stones are renowned for their black background color and their great play of colors.
Common opals are opaque. Unlike the noble opals, they do not present color plays allowed by the diffraction of the light. Their color is due to chemical elements within the silica beads composing the stone.
More and more popular and as an extremely precious gemstone, opal inspires designers and adornes the most beautiful jewels. Cut in many different styles, depending on its opacity and color, it can be set on rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and piercing jewelry. Noble opals provide various shaping options : as marbles or peaks, they are set on Maria Tash’s discreet earrings. As cabochons they are the heart of Patrick Voillot and Alexandra Abramczyk’s cocktail rings. The play of colors are then enlightened by diamond and colored gem pavings.
Common opal may be opaque, it is however a bewitching material to create authentic jewelry. Carole Guez’s Kalananga ring and Jacquie Aiche’s feather charm are made of pastel pink opals. Alexandra Abramczyk’s leaf earring uses a soft blue shade.
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