A kaleidoscope of colours, the opal captures the imagination like no other gemstone. Celebrated as the birthstone for October, opals bring a touch of magic to Cornish jewellery. For those seeking the same ethereal charm without stretching their budget, opalite, a radiant alternative, offers a wonderful choice.
What is an Opal?
Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica. Unlike many gemstones that crystallize, opal's beauty emanates from its non-crystalline nature. This property causes the mesmerizing play-of-colour, as light refracts within the stone, a phenomenon referred to as "opalizing".
Opal's Physical Properties
Opals are recognized by their play-of-colour, brightness, pattern, body tone, and transparency. They rate between 5.5 and 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, softer than most gemstones, demanding delicate care. Due to their inherent moisture, they're sensitive to temperature shifts.
The History of Opals
The name "opal" traces back to the Greek "Opallios", translating to "change of colour". Ancient Romans treasured opal for reflecting all other gem hues, symbolizing hope, purity, and love.
In Australia, Indigenous tribes regarded opals as ancestors' footprints, a memoir of their rich history. Each opal was believed to share tales, encapsulating their cultural narratives.
Where is Opal Mined?
Australia's Coober Pedy is often called the "opal capital of the world". The town's distinct landscape showcases opal mining remains. There's a fascinating link between the history of opal mining in Australia and the migration of Cornish miners, seeking new opportunities, further strengthening the connection between opal and Cornwall.
Opal's Meaning and Its Role in Crystal Healing
Opals are not just radiant stones; they inspire creativity and imagination. In the world of metaphysical healing, it’s revered for enhancing imagination and creativity. Wearers find solace in its calming properties, making it an ideal companion in times of stress. By activating and harmonising various chakras, opal ensures spiritual well-being, making it much more than just a visual delight.
Opals in Cornish Silver Jewellery
Distinguished by its dazzling play-of-colour, opal remains a gemstone of choice in contemporary jewellery. Cornwall, with its rich artistic heritage, sees many artisans crafting opal into intricate designs that resonate with the Cornish landscape and the ocean's hues.
Whether set in sterling silver pendants, delicate earrings, or elegant rings, opal retains a touch of Cornwall's enigmatic beauty.
Our Top Picks of Opal and Sterling Silver Opalite Jewellery
Take a look at our curated collection that marries traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design. Whether you’re a die-hard opal enthusiast or exploring opalite’s luminous charm, our top picks promise to enchant and captivate.