The name opal comes from an Indian word for stone.  It is divided into three groups: common opals, precious opals, and the yellow-red fire opals.

Specific Gravity:  1.95 - 2.25
Hardness:  4.50 - 6.50

Opals range in color, from blue, yellow, brown, pink, green, orange, white, and black.

The play-of-color phenomenon, or a rainbow of hues, is obvious in the precious opal category, not in fire and common opal. 

Opals are found in Australia, Brazil, and Mexico.  Opals always contain water, and if they become dessicated, can crack and lose the play-of-colors.  It is best to keep opal away from intense lighting of display cases and heat. Storage opals in moist absorbent cotton wool is believed by some to preserve the included water.

Peridot is not associated with a zodiac sign. Anniversary 14 is celebrated with opal (Matlins & Bonanno, 1998, p. 104).

This information was primarily taken from www.seemall.com/gems/OPAL.html

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This page was created December 6, 2000. copyright 2000 © Carmen Skaggs. All rights reserved.