Opal is the birthstone for the month of October. In the Zodiac, it corresponds with Aries, Scorpio, and Libra. Opal is also used as the gemstone gift for 18th wedding anniversaries. Like other special gemstones, Opal is associated with certain qualities. In this case, those qualities are hope, faith, and confidence.
It’s important to remember that the Opal birthstone is used for all kinds of jewelry, including rings, pendants, and bracelets. However, given the different varieties of Opal available in the market, the cost of Opal jewelry varies significantly depending on the value and quality of the gemstones used. Rings made out of Opal, for example, can range from $100 to $300, whereas pendants can reach as high as $500.
In terms of appearance, Opal gemstones generally have a whitish appearance, though it can have other colors as well. When a piece of Opal lacks color, it’s because of the loss of water. The presence of water in a particular opal’s structure is what allows it to have a rainbow-like appearance. Without it, the opal reverts back to its pale white appearance. This is the reason why those who mine opal will store these gems in water containers, so as to maintain their colorful appearance. As you might guess, any piece of Opal jewelry that has a pale colored gem would be considered relatively cheap.
The History of Opal Birthstones
Many experts believe that the name “Opal” was originally derived from the Sanskrit word for “Upala,” which means precious gem or stone. It’s also worth pointing out that Opal gemstones have been widely used for centuries either as jewelry or as ornaments. The Romans, for example, were especially fond of this gemstone and mined it extensively throughout Europe. The appreciation for Opal was also prevalent among the Aztecs who, in addition to using them as jewelry, also used these gemstones in creating temple art. When the Spanish arrived in what is today modern-day Mexico, they also extracted large amounts of Opal for export back to Europe. Today, the most precious types of Opal come from Australia, Mexico, and the United States. As in the past, Opal is still widely used in the creation of jewelry and special ornaments.
The Modern Value of Opal Gemstones
The price for Opal-based jewelry varies significantly. The most common types of Opal lack the brilliance and “play of light” that other gemstones have. Likewise, most kinds of Opal lack the necessary color to make them truly valuable objects.
Another reason why Opal is not as valuable as other gemstones are that they are easily forged and imitated, thus reducing their unique value in the market. Despite these problems though, Opal remains a popular gemstone. Without its impurities, Opal can have different shades of color, including yellow, pink, red and gray.
In fact, the most precious types of Opal are characterized by rainbow-like colors. This is where the word “Opalescence” comes from. The diffraction caused by Opal gemstones is what causes it to have a rainbow-like appearance, and is the source of its value as a gemstone.