Opals Shine as Timeless Treasures

Regarded as a gemstone of high esteem by Romans, opals held a distinguished status, trailing closely behind emeralds in significance. Exhibiting a captivating array of kaleidoscopic hues, opals are renowned for their mesmerising play-of-colour. Within the spectrum of opals, several varieties stand out prominently, including white or light opal, black opal, fire opal, boulder opal, and crystal or water opal. Explore the preferences of renowned global designers as they reveal more about their cherished gemstones.

Dr. Renata Bernard, founder of Opal Minded, in Australia, is an opal-hunter, gemmologist and designer:
Precious opals are found in Australia, Ethiopia, Mexico, Indonesia and Honduras, but the best opals are found in Australia. Australian opals are mostly sedimentary. They have low porosity and are therefore much more robust than their hydrophane cousins of volcanic origins found elsewhere — notably in Ethiopia.

The Sun And The Moon 5.8-carat black opal ring with diamonds stars crafted in 18-karat yellow gold, designed by Dr. Renata Bernard of Open Minded.

When it comes to the quality of colour play, durability and beauty, Australian opals have no equals. In simplest terms, Australian opals can be divided into black, dark and light/white opals, depending on how dark or light their body tone is. It is also customary for Australian boulder opals to be considered an opal type. Technically, Australian boulder opals should be described as black boulder opals, dark boulder opals and light or white boulder opals.

The Australian blue and green opal pendant in 18-karat yellow gold is adorned with a rim of diamonds, designed by Dr. Renata of Open Minded.

What determines opal’s value? The brightness of the play of colour, as they translate into the opal’s rarity. Australian opals feature a distinctive colour combination, intensity and pattern. While precious opal is noted for the play of colour; common opals, on the other hand, do not showcase a shift in colours. Often, opals from other parts of the world are treated to resemble Australian precious opals.

Engraved gold pendant set with a heart-shaped opal, by Brooke Gregson.

Victoria Lampley Berens, founder-The Stax, a global tastemaker collective:

Opal is known to be “an emotional stone” that reflects the mood of the wearer. It intensifies emotions and releases inhibitions, encourages both freedom and independence. Opals are magical and they come in innumerable colours. These stones shapeshift in the sun, and you can see the rainbow hues bouncing around. Find rare colours and interesting, unique settings that really amplify the brilliance of opals.

Opal necklace, by SYNA

Brooke Gregson, designer: I see opals as the antidote to traditional gemstone jewellery, and it’s great to see opals being used in many ways. Nature has gone through a lot to create these beautiful stones, and my goal is to make sure I design a timeless piece.

Sugar and Spice large cocktail ring, by Mason and Books.

Katherine Jetter, designer: I love the magical qualities of opals. As an Australian, I take great pride in opal being our national gemstone. I love to show them in a modern light and make opals relevant again.

Linear drop opal earrings, by Katherine Jetter

Opals are called the Gamblers Stone, as they are formed randomly in small pockets of the Australian outback desert soil. Rainfall, water deposits seeping into small pockets about 5-to-15 feet below the earth’s surface, and over millions of years, the iron exchange transforms the water deposits into silica. Various mineral compositions lead to the formation of opals across an array such as greens, blues, oranges, red, purples and pinks.  

Opal ring, by Le Vian

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