I love to look at collections of gems and minerals. It makes me feel … happy! Who would have known that there is hidden brilliance in rocks? One type of rock shows it’s secret nature if broken in a way to reveal inner structures: opal. I’m intrigued by these mysterious internal fires. Opals seem alive in a way that other stones are not.
What the word “opal” brings to my mind is:
- opalescence (rhymes)
- dichroism (bringing out my inner nerd)
- glittering hues (the poet in me)
- Coober Pedy (Australia!)
- the elusive Black Opal (intrigue & adventure)
- Opal, the character on All My Children (brassy soap opera women?)
Opals are relatively delicate, geologically classified as being an amorphous mineraloid, not having a regular crystalline matrix. They have their own history and lore. Their fire ranges in color from red to violet, and the background ranges from a milky color to black (rare).
Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica (SiO ·nH2O); its water content may range from 3 to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6 and 10%.
Though I’m fascinated by geology, that sounds so clinical and dry. I want to shout, “Oh! What G-d has wrought capturing light in solid rock, freezing color in momentary flashes!”
Now, how fun is this? And I don’t even have any opal jewelry!!!!!
Photo credits: Opals at Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois. By: “Vilseskogen” on Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0