Behind the Sparkle – Opal

Bethany Hawn unravels the secrets of October’s birthstone

by Bethany Hawn – October 19, 2017

Opals are known for their unique display of flashing rainbow colors called “play-of-color.” Which only occurs in precious opal. Opal can be found in a variety of colors, from white and green, (being the most common) to “black opals” which are the most rare. The terms white opal and black opal only refer to the body color of precious opal, not the flashes of color seen within the stone.

Play-of-color occurs in precious opal because it’s made up of sub-microscopic silica spheres, which can contain up to 20% water and are stacked in a grid-like pattern. As the lightwaves travel between the spheres, the waves diffract, or bend. As they bend, they break up into spectral colors. Although opal is mined in Brazil, Ethiopia and Mexico, 90% of the world’s precious opals are found in Australia.

The opal carries a lot of deep history and some silly superstitions. Many people think it’s unlucky for anyone not born in October to wear an opal. But that superstition actually comes from a single novel written in the 1800’s: Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter Scott. In fact, throughout most of history, opals have been regarded as one of the luckiest and most magical because it can show all the different gem colors.

The Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. Ancient Greeks believed opals gave their owners the gift of prophecy. In Ancient Rome this gem symbolized love and was given its name, “opalus,” which meant “precious stone.”

If you would like to know more about this phenomenal gem or want to check out opal jewelry, visit Bethany’s Jewelry and Design in Mansfield. Or visit their website: bethanysjewelry.com. Use promo code OPAL to get an additional 10% off, or mention this segment in store. Thanks for watching Behind the Sparkle right here on The Home Page Network!

Credits:
Idea/Concept: Bethany Hawn
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Bethany Hawn

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by Laurel Health Centers, Matthews Motor Company

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