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“There are worlds in an opal.” – Terri Guillemets

Anyone who has seen a shimmering, iridescent opal knows how mesmerizing the stone’s cosmic colors are. Ethereal and unexpected, opal engagement rings have recently become a go-to for bohemian-leaning brides looking for a dreamy alternative to diamonds. As autumn creeps into the air and we inch closer to Halloween, we at Abby Sparks Jewelry would like to celebrate October’s bewitching birthstone, the opal, and everything that makes it a magical choice for an engagement ring.

Opal Origins

(The Jessyka black opal engagement ring has an otherworldly glow).

Opals have enjoyed a long and well-documented place in history. The word “opal” is said to come from the Sanskrit upala meaning “precious stone”, and later the Greek opallios, “to see a change in color.” Found all over the world, opals are formed after trapped rainwater evaporates in sedimentary rock layers, leaving behind silica deposits. These microscopic pieces of silica create the rainbow-like colors in precious opals (called the “play-of-color”) and the size and placement is what determines the stone’s quality and gives each opal unique, one-of-a-kind colors.

Types of Opals

(The Gabbi white opal engagement ring mixes retro with contemporary).

Depending on your budget and your color preference, you have your pick when it comes to opal options. There’s a wide range of opal types, ranging from nearly translucent crystal opals, to the dark and moody black opal. Natural opals most often have a base tone ranging from colorless to medium gray, and these make up the majority of stones in opal engagement rings. Want a more organic vibe? Boulder opal is a naturally forming cocktail of host rock and opal. Fire opals, sometimes called Mexican fire opals, are transparent to translucent and have warm colors of yellow, orange, and red, while Peruvian or blue opal come in shades of blue green. Black opals are the darkest and most rare of all opals, with the price tag to match their relative scarcity. Like many gemstones, synthetic opals are also an option and are distinguishable from natural opals because of the regularity of the silica patterns.

Opal Engagement Ring Meaning

(The Amanda opal engagement ring is unique and unconventional).

If you seek meaning in an engagement ring stone, the opal’s colorful history won’t let you down. Due to it’s magical glow, opals have been steeped in mystery dating back to the middle ages. Opal legends range from being thought of as bad luck, to being worn to ward off evil spirits. In Roman history, Caesars gave their wives opal for luck, regarding it as the most precious and powerful gemstone. It’s this type of romantic connotation that has persevered into modern times. Nowadays, opals are said to boost creativity and to symbolize fidelity. As an engagement ring, opals are a perfect representation of the unique spark and fire of your relationship, and their non-replicable nature is a huge draw for those that want a truly one-of-a-kind ring.

Opal Engagement Ring Durability

As far as gemstones go, opals are softer than most with a rating of 5.5 to 6.0 on the Mohs hardness scale. Like all engagement rings, opal rings are not suitable for 24/7 wear (see 3 unexpected times when you shouldn’t wear your engagement ring) but because of the opal’s softness, extra care needs to be taken when wearing and caring for the ring. If your heart’s set on an opal, you have to be real with yourself about if you’re careful with your jewelry. Trust us, breaking your engagement ring is no fun, but if you work with a skilled jewelry designer like Abby Sparks Jewelry, we can make sure that you start off with a high quality stone and set it in an engagement ring design that will help protect the opal from everyday mishaps and accidents.

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