OPAL, PEARL, TOURMALINE

Opals have been compared to volcanoes, galaxies, and fireworks. Here's a comprehensive overview of opals:

    1. Formation:

      Opal is formed from a solution of silicon dioxide and water. As water runs down through the earth, it picks up silica from sandstone, and carries this silica-rich solution into cracks and voids, caused by natural faults or decomposing fossils. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind a silica deposit. This cycle repeats over very long periods of time, and eventually opal is formed.

    2. Mining:

      The primary sources of opal are Australia and Ethiopia, but because of inconsistent and widely varying accountings of their respective levels of extraction, it is difficult to accurately state what proportion of the global supply of opal comes from either country.

    3. Characteristics:

      • Hardness: Opal has a hardness of 5.0-6.5, making it soft for jewelry, needing to be treated with care to avoid damage.
      • Color: Opals can display all the colors of the rainbow in an iridescent, moving pattern
      • Clarity: Opal clarity focuses on appearance and flaws. Saturation, hue, and tone affect the opal's clarity grade.
      • Carat Weight: The size of an opal is measured in carats, with one carat equal to 200 milligrams. Larger rubies are rarer and more valuable.
    4. Cut:

      There are many cuts you can get for an opal but the best cut for an opal you can get is a round cut because it showcases 57 facets of the gemstone which will allow the most play-of-color as well as maintain an elegant shape.

    5. Lab-Grown Opals:

      Lab-Grown Opals are man-made opals that have the same chemical composition, internal structure, physical properties, and appearance as natural opals. Many synthetic opals look so much like natural opal that trained gemologists can have difficulty separating them from natural opals.

    6. Symbolism:

      Many cultures have credited opal with supernatural origins and powers. In the Middle Ages, opal was considered a stone that could provide great luck because it was believed to possess all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented in the color spectrum of the opal. Today it is considered a symbol of hope, purity, and truth. 

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The pearl is one of the best-loved gems of all time. It occurs in a wide variety of colors but most known for white and cream. Here's a comprehensive overview of pearls:

    1. Formation:

      Natural pearls form around a microscopic irritant in the bodies of certain mollusks. Cultured pearls are the result of the deliberate insertion of a bead or piece of tissue that the mollusk coats with nacre.

    2. Production:

      Kuri Bay in Australia is the biggest producer of South Sea pearls in the world and China has since become the world's largest producer of freshwater pearls.

    3. Characteristics:

      • Hardness: Pearl is ranked 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means it's very soft and easily scratched or abraded.
      • Color: Most commonly found in white, we can find them in shades of cream, grey, pink, gold or even black.
      • Carat Weight: The size of a pear is measured in carats, with one carat equal to 200 milligrams. Larger rubies are rarer and more valuable.
    4. Imitation Pearl:

      Imitation pearls are man-made faux pearls. Materials used to create imitation pearls include glass, plastic, and mollusc shells. As an alternative, some plastic beads are coated with a pearlescent substance to imitate the natural iridescence of nacre or mother of pearl. 

    5. Symbolism:

      Pearls are often symbolise wisdom, love, innocence and faith

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Tourmaline is a very popular stone with one of the widest color ranges of any gem, including multi-color zones. Here's a comprehensive overview of tourmalines:

    1. Formation:

      The process by which tourmaline is created is better known as the hypothermal process and it involves not only the water that is undissolved from the hot magma, but rainwater. This mix of water and minerals tends to fill the cracks in the magma as it cools and hardens into rock.

    2. Mining:

      Tourmaline is found in many places throughout the world with especially large deposits located in Brazil, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

    3. Characteristics:

      • Hardness: Tourmalines measure 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that it is quite hard and resistant to scratches.
      • Color: Tourmaline has a variety of colors. Iron-rich tourmalines are usually black to bluish-black to deep brown, while magnesium-rich varieties are brown to yellow, and lithium-rich tourmalines are almost any color: blue, green, red, yellow, pink, etc.
      • Clarity: Grown in an environment rich in liquids, some of those liquids are captured as inclusions during crystal growth. The most typical inclusions resemble thread-like cavities that run parallel to the length of the crystal.
      • Carat Weight: The size of a tourmaline is measured in carats, with one carat equal to 200 milligrams. Larger rubies are rarer and more valuable.
    4. Cut:

      The best cut for a tourmaline depends largely on its colors. A darker tourmaline will typically use rectangle and rectangular emerald cuts to emphasize the lighter of the colors. When the stone is lighter round, oval, or triangle cuts are often used instead.

    5. Lab-Grown Garnet:

      Tourmaline can be created in a laboratory, but the process is not yet perfected. Currently synthetic tourmalines are used only for research purposes. The stones, offered as synthetic tourmaline, are rarely tourmaline-colored synthetic spinels

    6. Symbolism:

      Tourmaline is a birthstone for October, along with opal. It is celebrated for its wide array of colors and its ability to inspire enlightenment, balance. And it has been said to be a stone of reconciliation, a stone that fosters compassion and cool headedness, radiates the energy that attracts money, healing and friendship