October is here which means that opal will be in the spotlight this month. Known as Australia's National Stone, 95% of the worlds opal are mined in there. The rest can be found in Ethiopia, (home of the stunning Welo opal), Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Mexico (the beautiful fire opal) and the United States.
Opal is famed for its ability to diffract light. The exact cause of opal's unique properties was only discovered by Australian scientists in the 1960s after analysis with electron microscopes. As light enters the opal, it bends around the tiny particles of hydrated silica, as well as 'chips' of silicon and oxygen suspended within the stone. Light is comprised of all visible colors and can produce an entire spectrum of colors when it is diffracted. The flashes of colour that opals are famous for tend to be yellow, blue and green, but if you find red, orange or violet, then this is rare. Some opals don't display this play of colour, Peruvuan pink opal and fire opal are two.
According to Aboriginal legend, the Creator came down from the heavens on a rainbow and delivered a message of peace to all mankind. Stones that were near where His feet touched the ground suddenly began to sparkle and this is believed to be the birth of opal!