Here are a few little bits and pieces about Opals the October birth stone. Yes as October is finished don't let the title fool you this is more a tribute.
The major characteristic of the opal is the amazing flashes of rainbow like colors when it is viewed from different angles. The way these colours are is by an arrangement of silica spheres within the opal itself. Light bounces of the spheres creating the beautiful colours that Opals are known for.
The two discerning features of Opals is that they can have a light or dark body color that may be either translucent or transparent. The most rare and expensive types of Opals are Black opals. They have lovely fiery flashes of colour with a body color that can range from a darkish grey to black. Similar to black opals are fire opals which come from Mexico. They have base colors ranging from yellow to orange, and can be transparent to translucent with fiery flashes.
The scale that is used to rate a gemstones is called Mohs scale. Opal has a hardness that varies in the range of 5.5 to 6.5 on Mohs scale. Diamond is the hardest gem with a rating of 10 on Mohs scale.
The place in the world where you can find the most Opals is Australia, however there are a large number of fire opals found in Mexico. You can find a small number of Opals in Africa, The United States, Brazil, areas of the former Soviet Union and Nicaragua however it is quite limited.
When cleaning your Opal make sure you don't use harsh cleansers and especially don't clean the opals with ultrasonic cleaners. Also never rub oil on an opal, because although it makes the fire brighter it can damage the opal. Some jewelers recommend you periodically soak opals in water to help them reabsorb lost moisture. Hope you all had a great October.
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