Opal is an amazing gem and is highly underrated ,not only is opal all the colours of the rainbow it also appears differently when viewed under different light sources. 30 years ago my life changed, one day at a garage sale I picked up a bottle of rough opal. Are these stones real? I asked the lady running the sale. She replied that they were real and that her grandfather had found them at a place called lightning ridge. I didn't know it when I bought that jar that I had In fact just caught a disease called opal fever that I've never been able to get rid of. For almost a year I hand cut stones from that jar of opal, I had always liked gems and crystals , but that jar of opal started my career as a jeweller ,cutter and gemmologist.
I've cut and made jewellery from many types of stones and opals are the most fun as they are all unique. Every stone I cut is different, white stones,clear ,black, grey and brown stones, some with a subtle pastel glow, others with an almost unnatural electric fire. The colour is also arranged in different patterns ,from tiny pin fire flecks through to big angular sections of colour.
Opals occurrence is also fascinating , many opals were once alive , opal quite often replaces fossils. From sea shells and dinosaur bones to trees , opal fossils are some of the most beautiful fossils formed by mother nature.
Opals reputation has been tarnished over the years, we hear things like; opals are bad luck, that they can't get wet and that they crack. The only thing unlucky about opals is if you don't own any! A mid 1800's novel and a smear campaign by Diamond marketers Debeers spread the word that opals were unlucky , Debeers hated competition and in most cases the incredible beauty of the black opals being marketed at the time made their diamonds look very plain so instead of promoting their own product they put down other stones. Water doesn't affect opals unless they are composite stones like doublets and triplets where layers are cemented together with glue. These composite stones do need to be kept away from oils and water. At the Rare and Beautiful we avoid composite stones and only sell solid Australian opals. Some opals will crack or craze after they have been cut, this opal has usually been formed under a volcanic environment, Most opals from America and Ethiopia will unfortunately crack after they are cut, ruining many beautiful gems and wasting the money of those who purchase them.
We love opal because it is beautiful and because of the surprise when cutting it ,you just never know what a gem will look like once it's freed from its rough form. We have all types of solid opal at The Rare and Beautiful , from inexpensive to family heirlooms . We like to keep our prices down to, so that other jewellers can make a decent profit from our stones but most of all so that people can posses one of these beautiful gems to treasure and be amazed by just like we have for the past 30 years.