When I come back from the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, I’m full of inspiration. I’ve just seen one of the largest collections of rare colored and beautifully cut gemstones, fossils so intricate and fantastic, they beg to be on display, and unusual finds that are so breathtaking, they are truly in a class by themselves. Like this opal.
Opals are my favorite gemstones because every stone is an original, with a character and fire all its own. This beauty (see above) is a crystal opal, approximately three inches long, an inch wide, and two and a half inches tall. This large opal is so rare and so beautiful, it is valued at almost $45,000!
Opals are chemically similar to quartz, forming from silica under pressure. An opal’s fire is the result of light diffraction bouncing from the silicates deposited in the rock from water, deposited as tiny spheres. Opals grow by filling in cavities, regardless of their shape. Some of the most common are opalized wood (see stunningly huge sample below, on display at the Tucson show) and opal seashells.
Mined in Oregon, this gorgeous gem is found in stone “accretions” that look like bubbles found in ash layers. It is exceedingly rare to find an opal in the very center of this stone. The photo is absolutely stunning, but I can say in all sincerity that it is even more breathtaking in person.
Although this opal didn’t find it’s way back with me to Indy, I found more, and I hope you’ll come into the store to take a look. I won’t need much coaxing to take them out and tell you about them.