Green Opal cabochon wire wrap pendant wrapped in 14kt rolled gold overall size is 70.5mm x 39mm
"Nature's fireworks," the opal is a gemstone of hydrated silica. It is considered a mineraloid, rather than a full mineral, because its structure is not truly crystalline. This stone has the same chemical composition as quartz, but contains up to 13% water. It probably derives its name from the Sanskrit word for precious stone: upala. Most opal is more than 60 million years old and generally dates back to the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. It's also the birthstone for October. The most striking quality of the precious opal is its rich play of color; it diffracts light at various wavelengths, creating multiple colors. The common opal, on the other hand, has a lesser play of colors.
Opals should be protected from heat and strong light, which can dry it out, causing cracks. In addition to cracking, loss of water causes loss of iridescence, therefore they might need to be oiled regularly to keep the water inside. Opal also must be protected from detergents that dry the gem. And remember, opals can be fairly brittle because they contain water. Ultrasonic cleaners, metal polish, acids and any strong solvents also should be avoided.
Precious opal has been a gemstone since Roman times, in which is was second only to the emerald in value. The Romans considered the gemstone to be one of good fortune, revering it as a powerful aid to prophecy. The Russians, on other hand, viewed opal as nothing but bad luck. Opal also was treasured in the Middle Ages and was called ophthalmios, or "eye stone," due to a widespread belief that it helped eyesight. Blond women wore opal necklaces to protect their hair from losing its color, and some thought the gemstone's effect on sight could render the wearer invisible.
Shakespeare treated the opal as 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," according to the ICGA. 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." Continuing its reference in literature, in the nineteenth century Sir Walter Scott gave the gemstone an unlucky reputation with a popular novel. In it, the heroine has her life force caught in the beautiful opal she wears in her hair, and she dies when the fire in the opal is extinguished. Queen Victoria loved opals and often gave them as wedding presents. She and her daughters created a fashion trend for opal jewelry.
Today, the gemstone is believed to aid in the healing of eye diseases, and if a person is ill, it is believed to lose all color to the wearer. It is also said to soothe the eyes and the nerves, and might enhance creativity. Most opal comes from Australia, and additionally from Mexico and the U.S.A.