Opal is regarded as one of the most beautiful gemstones in the world, and while you probably know all about its beauty, theres a lot which you might not know about this unique and diverse stone.
Were going to take a look at five facts which you may not have known about the gorgeous opal.
Its an extra-terrestrial
Yep, while you might know opals can be found around the world, specifically in Australia and Africa, it turns out that they can also be found a little further afield. Mars to be precise!
In fact, opals are one of only a couple of gemstones in the world which have been found to exist outside of our own planet.
In fact, this article from RT suggests that the discovery of opals on Mars may even play a key role in proving that the Red Planet was actually once home to ancient life.
It has royal connections
Before the death of her husband Prince Albert, Queen Victoria was a big fan of various types of jewellery and was extremely influential in shaping contemporary tastes.
And while she was known to love sapphires, rubies and diamonds from across her empire, it turns out that her favourite was opal!
Check out this Andamooka necklace and earrings which the Queen received from the South Australian Government following her coronation.
Theyre formed by rain
Theres still quite a bit of discussion over how exactly opals come to be, but the general consensus is that theyre formed by rainfall.
The main theory is that water from the rain seeps down hills and into crevasses within rocks.
This water then evaporates and the silica that is left behind dries and out and hardens into opal!
You can read more about the formation process at King Opal.
They appear to change colour
One of the most fascinating aspects of opals is the way in which they shimmer in the light and appear to radiate a number of dazzling colours.
The reasoning behind this is quite fascinating, and its down to millions and millions of tiny silica spheres of different sizes.
Each of these spheres refracts light and causes the spectral colours that you can see with the naked eye.
The spheres have to be just the right size, and of a uniform nature to create enough colour for us to see.
Theyre believed to be lucky
The ancient Romans were big fans of opals and believed that they were a symbol of hope and good fortune.
They believed that the shimmering effect that we explained earlier showed That they equal the deepest and richest colours of painters. and Simulate the flaming fire of burning sulphur and even the bright blaze of burning oil.
However, others were not so sure, and English writers from the 1800s have suggested that opals actually represent bad luck.
Whoevers right, theres no denying the beauty of this glorious gemstone!
For more posts about all things related to gemstones and antique jewellery, make sure to keep checking our blog here at Heritage Antique Jewellery.