Australian Fire Opals Vs Mexican Fire Opals
Only a few gemstones in the world can evoke such a thrill and admiration as opals. But, among many different types of opals, one stands out – the fire opal. However, not all fire opals are the same.
Fire opals were first discovered in Australia, in the second half of 19th century and people immediately fell in love with them. Australians started to exploit and mine fire opals in order to sell them to rich customers in Europe, the most famous aficionado being the Queen of the United Kingdom, Victoria, who had the entire collection of Australian opal jewellery.
Indeed, who wouldn’t like magnificent firework of reds, oranges, blues, and greens sparkling from the solid black background? Australian towns Coober Pedy, Mintabie, Andamooka and others settled in the Great Australian Basin are at the top when it comes to mining and production of fire opal. In order to accentuate the beauty of the play of color, Australian fire opals are usually cut into cabochons, a shape that is simple and gorgeous at the same time. The shimmering rainbow inside every fire opal coming from Australia has made this gemstone one of the favorite and its beauty was even described in many poems. These large, colorful precious stones can be set into almost any ring, pendant or necklace and look simply stunning. Australian fire opal that shows a great amount of red fire is considered the most valuable among all.
From the other part of the world comes Mexican fire opal. It is usually found near volcanos and they look like they captured volcanos warm, fiery colors. They can be transparent to translucent, red, orange or yellow. Unlike Australian opals, they usually don’t show play of color. For that reason, Mexican opals are sometimes referred to as jelly opals. They were loved and adored by Mayan and Aztecs who used them in many mosaics, as well as jewelry. Mexican opals are characterized by vivid, sometimes a bit cloudy, warm tones and they are almost always faceted, so they have sparkle and brilliance in addition to beautiful color.
Mexican opals are mostly mined in Mexico, although they can be found in some other countries as well. Guatemala, Honduras, United States and Canada are also present in the fire opal market. A few years ago a variation of Mexican fire opal was discovered in Brazil. These stones have beautiful color that ranges from orange to yellow and, although sometimes cloudy and without play of color, became pretty popular because they can be really huge.
Of course, sticklers for accuracy will say that there’s only one fire opal – Mexican – because it sparkles with red and orange colors of fire, but the “fire” of Australian opal is still more valued and gets higher price. Australian fire opals look very attractive having a dynamic pattern and ever-changing shine, and it’s traditionally chosen by people who thrive to elegance and fame. On the other hand, Mexican fire opals, with their autumn colors, are perfect for those who adore life and nature.
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