Opulent Opal – the October birthstone
Opal is a mineraloid – this is what gives it that shimmer and changing colours. Precious opal was incredibly rare until it was discovered in Australia in the 19th century. Until then it was only known to be found in Slovakia and it has since been found in Ethiopia, Mexico and North America, making it more affordable.
The name is thought to come from the Sanskrit úpala but there have been suggestions that the name has roots in Latin and Ancient Greek. It was highly prized in those days as it was only available through traders in the Bosporus region. They claimed it came from India, still a very mystical, far away land in those times; which lends credibility to the claim that the name comes from the Indian language.
Opals are usually cut and polished into a cabochon, so their internal opalescence can shine through, and this is the style of opal we use for our jewellery. Opals are quite expensive, so for our Vita birthstone collection we have used small stones to keep it affordable as a gift. The earrings and necklace feature the distinctive bubble edged mount which complements the cabochon shape of the opals. Any October baby would be delighted to receive these as a gift.
Our Shimmer collection features similarly shaped round opals with a spiky cubic zirconia studded mount and gold claw setting. This style really sets off the shimmering effect of the stones. This is an unusual design which draws inspiration from vintage styles and combines different stones and metals for a really striking look. This set looks great worn as an ensemble with a single colour – and it doesn't matter what colour you choose because opal goes with everything thanks to the way it catches and plays with the light.
If you want something bigger for a louder statement our Opaltine collection is ideal. This would be a lovely gift to receive for a birthday, perhaps a few family members could club together to buy the set for that special someone. The oval cabochon opals are set in a looped sterling silver mount, accented with cubic zirconia which directs the light and scatters it over the main stone to bring out that glistening opalescence that opals are all about. This is a gorgeous set, and can be worn as an ensemble for dramatic effect, or separately for a dash of glamour in an everyday outfit.
In between the Shimmer and Opaltine collections sits the Spicy Opal set. A necklace and earrings showcase, with stunning oval opals set in a minimalist mount which makes the stones stand out – the mount appears to hold the stones at the top and bottom and the deep profile shows the quality of these pieces. A single cubic zirconia is mounted above the main stones for added dazzle in lower lights. These pieces work beautifully for the theatre, dinner at a nice restaurant and special occasions, which is what makes them such great gifts. Opening these at a birthday meal will ensure they are worn straight away and they really do go with anything, that's part of the beauty of opals.