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The colorful hues of the rainbow are all present in this one gemstone -the Opal. All the colors seem to sparkle and shine together. The unique play of colors of the Opal is a natural phenomenon, which is fascinating as well as intriguing.

The phenomenon as was discovered by scientists is due to the interference of silica gel, in the small spheres, in the stone that caused refraction which resulted in the brilliant colors of the stone. The spheres are arranged in compact structures in the stone. When light passes thought the spheres in the stone, it gets dissected which resulted in the reflection of the different colors on the gemstone. This process is known as opalising.

There are numerous legends surrounding the origin of this gemstone. One such is the legend of the creator coming to earth on a rainbow, to spread a message of peace. As soon as his feet touched the ground, the stones on the ground sparkled in the colors of the rainbow. This is how opals were believed to have originated.

The origin of the opal is Australia which is the largest producer of Opals. Significant deposits of Opal are also found in Hungary, Turkey, parts of Africa, Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico

The name Opal is believed to have been derived from Sanskrit word “upala“, meaning ”valuable stone“. This was probably the root for the Greek word “opallios” which means “colour change”. Opallios commonly came to be termed as Opal.

Opal Trivia

  • The most important criterion for determining the value of an Opal is the play of color and their pattern.
  • The largest black opal in the Smithsonian Museum comes from the Royal Peacock opal mine in the Virgin Valley.
  • Opals are Australia's national gemstone.
  • The most famous source of fire opals is the state of Queretaro in Mexico.
  • Andamooka is the place where the largest Opal was found, with a weight of 6, 843 kilograms.