Last Updated on 03/03/2024 by DR.Travor

The Beauty and Mystery of African Opals: A Buying and Wearing Guide

African Opal-2


African Opals is one of the most beautiful and magical gemstones in the world, and its origin is Africa. They are known for their quirky patterns and colors, making them a solid choice for jewelry wearers. In this article, Normaltan Jewelry explores the beauty and mystery of African opals and gives you tips for buying African opals and tips for wearing them.

Legends about Opal:

A long time ago, Europeans rumored that people who were not born in October would bring bad luck if they owned opal. This superstition is probably due to the color of opal! In Scotland, it is believed to be a magical gem that affects seven major changes in a person’s life. Legend has it that there was a pretty girl named Christine, who was a nobleman in Edinburgh. Came across an opal by chance, and she loved the rough. Because she owned this rough stone, her life was rough and she eventually died of poverty. But such rumors were overturned by Queen Victoria.

  1. What is African Opal?

The origin of African opal is located in Africa. They are also known as giraffe opals because of their unique patterns that resemble the spots on giraffes. African opal is made of silica gel, which is a substance deposited in the cracks and cavities of the rock. Over time, silica gel hardens and gradually turns into opal.

African opal is different from other types of opal in that most opals you know are transparent in color but African opal is opaque. This means they do not have the same discoloration as other opals. As such, African opal has a unique pattern of color and shape that makes it stand out among other gemstones.

  1. African Opal Colors and Patterns

African opal comes in a variety of colors such as white, gray, brown and black. They also come in a variety of unique patterns, such as spots, stripes, or swirls. It is these patterns that make opal unique.
Among the many patterns, the pattern resembling the spots on the giraffe is one of the most popular patterns. It looks like irregular spots, very similar to the spots on the giraffe. Other patterns include stripes or leopard prints, which we would classify as spots on leopards.

  1. How to buy African Opal

According to factors such as natural body color and fire color, opal can be divided into black opal, white opal, fire opal and crystal opal (water opal).

Black Opal:

A darker body color than opals with a lighter body color. The dark body color makes the play-of-color effect even more dramatic. The body color of black opal is black or dark blue, dark gray, dark green and brown varieties, among which black opal is the most eye-catching.

White Opal:

Opal with light body color, generally white, gray, off-white, or colorless opal. Because of its lighter embryo body tone, white opal cannot show strong contrast and bright colors like black opal.

Fire Opal:

Mainly produced in Mexico, is yellow, orange, orange-red or bright bright red. Generally, the transparency is higher and the color change is weaker, so the value of fire opal cannot be compared with that of black opal and white opal.

Water Opal:

High water content, weak color change, high transparency. It is mainly produced in Africa, with large output and high water content. In the season with slightly higher temperature, it will lose water in just a few weeks, the color will become weaker, or even disappear, and the appearance will become dry and yellow.

When you are shopping for an opal, the first thing that attracts you is its pattern and color.The pattern should be clear and clear, and the color should be bright and lively. It is also important to look for stones that are free of cracks and blemishes.

African opals:

African opals are sold as polished gemstones. So when shopping for cabochons like this one, it’s important to look for stones that are well polished and have fewer scratches and blemishes.

Unlike other gemstones, opal is not actually a mineral because it has no crystal structure. It is composed of fine microspheres of amorphous silicon dioxide stacked and arranged in an orderly manner. The color of opal is structural and is produced by the diffraction of light (the bending of light around an obstacle, the degree of bending depends on the wavelength of the light). How did it form?

The composition of opal:

The main component of opal is silica. As you know, gemstones are crystalline, but opal is an amorphous structure formed by the colloidal precipitation of silica. Because of this, opal has very rich and special color characteristics and optical effects. With a hardness of only 5.5, opal is the most fragile of the gemstones.

The silica inside the opal has a spheroidal structure, and the original color is the color of the opal, but due to the mixing of other elements such as iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, etc., it will be mixed with blue, green, yellow, red, black and other colors.

Opal is translucent in appearance and has a vitreous luster or a waxy, colloidal texture. Therefore, proteins can be divided into two types: color changing and color changing.

Color-changing opal:

The principle of color-changing opal is that the size of the silica spheres contained is slightly larger than the wavelength of visible light or half the wavelength of visible light, which makes white light diffract and interfere, showing a full spectrum of colors from purple to red or some monotonous colors. Spectral colors, the surface appears iridescent.

Play-of-color opals:

Play-of-color opals are divided into three types: white opal (white opal), black opal (black opal) and fire opal (fire opal) due to different color characteristics and optical effects. The opal we are more familiar with is the color-changing type, which is produced in Australia, Mexico and other places, and the color is high-profile and gorgeous.

  1. How to wear African opal

As a popular piece of jewelry, we wear it in many ways. They can be set in gold, silver or platinum and are often made into pendants, earrings and rings.

When wearing opal on a daily basis, we need to take good care of it, because the surface of opal is highly polished, and any blemishes will inevitably affect its luster.

The daily maintenance of African opal is actually very simple. Like other jewelry, it should be stored in a cool and dry place. Daily cleaning with a soft cloth and soap will maintain its shine. Of course, we should avoid cleaning opals with harsh chemicals.

African opals are beautiful and mysterious. It is popular with people for its unique patterns and colors.