Opal is a paradoxical
gemstone, and one of the most fascinating.It is a form of quartz, but is
not a form of quartz.Opal itself has numerous varieties. It is the most
colourful gemstone, but some forms are colourless. It can be very bright
and beautiful, and it can be dull and dead. It is best known for its
flashes of colour, but some varieties have no flashes of colour, and are
still opals. It can be black, and it can be white. Its best known
attribute, the brilliant flashes of many colours, are not called
opalescence, but irridescence.
Opal as Muse
A beautiful opal called the orphanus was set in the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. It was described "as though pure white snow flashed and sparkled with the color of bright ruddy wine, and was overcome by this radiance."
Napoleon gave Josephine a beautiful opal with brilliant red flashes called "The burning of Troy," making her his Helen.
Shakespeare found in the opal a symbol of shifting inconstancy, likening play of color to play of mind in one of the most apt uses of gemstone symbolism in literature. In Twelfth Night, he writes: "Now the melancholy God protect thee, and the tailor make thy garments of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is opal."
Queen Victoria loved opals and often gave them as wedding presents. She and her daughters created a fashion for wearing opal. Queen Victoria was one of the first to appreciate opals from an exciting new source: Australia.
SOURCES FOR THIS
It is mined in Sri Lanka, Southern India and Tanzania
Typically Moonstone is not HEAT treated.
Moonstone should NOT be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner. We recommend ionic cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your Apatite jewelry.
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