Capturing the light, opal changes its hue with every turn. Here you see incredible shimmers of fire, glittering lighting, and an entire starburst. Mystical? No! An amazing work of nature!

The uniqueness of opal lies not only in its multifaceted coloring but also in its unusual properties, about which many legends are told.

What should one know when choosing a ring with opal?

One of the most beautiful minerals has its peculiarities in terms of wear and care. Keep in mind that opals contain up to 18% of water, which means that overheating and sudden temperature changes will have a bad effect on them. In addition, opal is not very hard, although it can scratch glass.

Six key features of the stone to consider when buying:

  1. The value of a ring depends not only on the weight of the gold setting but also on the quality of the inlay. The more distinctive the play of light on a stone’s surface, the more expensive the piece. In high-quality stones, this effect is noticeable from a distance of 0.8-0.9 meters.
  2. Gold at 585 is more solid than gold at 750, so the first option is more suitable for framing opal. Opal is inserted into the jewelry only after it has been polished!
  3. noble opals are expensive. To cut the price, doublets/triplets are used in mass-produced jewelry. They are based on cheaper onyxes or semi-precious opals, on top of which precious opal plates are fixed.
  4. Opal does not like a prolonged absence of moisture. Overheating can make it cloudy and even crack. Wiping with a moist cotton pad once a fortnight will do the trick.
  5. Store dainty opal rings in a baggie or box to avoid knocks or cracks.
  6. Choose ring models where the opal is secured on the ‘legs’. The shape under the bezel can outlast the stone and micro-cracks may appear in it. It is categorically not recommended to mount opal on the glue!

About the mineral

Opal is a chameleon in the world of gemstones. Each stone is a unique mosaic of colors. Its inner workings are always varied. Catching the light at every turn, a stone starts to shine with iridescent shimmer (opalescence effect): white opals turn blue, reddish, and greenish; fire opals turn greenish-brown, while black ones shine in all colors of the rainbow.

The secret of this lies in the fact that the stone does not have a crystalline structure, but consists of silicon spheres and water. When light hits the silicon balls, it splits into all shades of the color spectrum and reflects them onto the surface of the stone.

Australian opals are most valued, followed by Ethiopian stones. Less common are stones from Mexico and Indonesia.

The majority of stones in the jewelry pieces are about 1 carat in size (around 10 mm). Stones of a regular geometric shape such as a circle, an oval, or a rectangle are valued more.


Opal is a stone of outstanding beauty, which is why it requires a worthy presentation in jewelry. This chameleon stone harmonizes with the bright luster of yellow/red metal as well as with the cool calm of white aurum and nielloed silver. The darker background enhances the iridescent glow of the stone.

Stones with warm hues look best in a gold setting, which, like a mirror, reflects the light and makes the opal shine. Emerald-blue gems, on the other hand, are best in combination with silver or white gold.

Transparent opal is at risk of getting lost in a white frame. In this case, a frame of yellow aurum or silver with niello may enhance its appearance.

Features of the cut

Opal itself is quite delicate and may be easily damaged during the cutting process. The opaque round/oval stone is often set in a blind caste which squeezes it from all sides. The metal around the perimeter protects the stone from loosening and from cracking and chipping when it is dropped. For extra protection, opals are coated with transparent synthetic resin. However, micro-cracks may occur in the stone if it is strongly crimped. The reliability and durability of such a frame depend directly on the craftsman’s professionalism.

Published by HOLR Magazine.