"If it's not fun, why do it?"

Posts tagged ‘Jewellery’

Opal

Opal

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:

  • iridescence
  • 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
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

Opal2

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Hidden Gems

Man-made crystal specimen

This specimen is man-made but oh, what glory! © JustHavingFun

Why would crystals like these exist deep inside the earth? Hidden, secret, rare… perfect. I can appreciate them on so many levels. Their beauty is undisputed; they delight the eye. Their chemistry is exquisite; they reveal the order of the universe.

Red stones in the corundum family are rubies, and anything else is a sapphire. While pure corundum can be colorless, sapphires might be blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple or even show a six-rayed star. Only a tiny atomic change, the inclusion of the element chromium, makes a deep blue sapphire become a red ruby.

Carbon lacks the sparkle of diamonds. Coal. Graphite. Soot. Yet tons of pressure and kilocalories of heat create diamonds, harder than any other natural rock or mineral. Quartz crystals emerge as gems (amethyst and topaz) or captivate us as clear crystal spears. People carve and polish it into a crystal orb and divine the past and future in its depths.

The hardest carbon is diamond. Science explains its allure: the high refractive index allows light to bounce around within the cut and polished stone and sparkle in myriad colors as no other gemstone.  De Beers coined the phrase “A Diamond Is Forever” in 1947. They created a lust for diamond engagement rings like never before in history.

But isn’t a diamond just a rock?

Minerals

Minerals” by Eric Hunt, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why are some crystals needle-like and others cubic? Why are some embedded in volcanic rock and others, geodes, inside hollow nodules? Why are opals iridescent yet moonstones glow? Knowing the chemistry explains some details but it doesn’t explain my captivation. Wonders beyond wonders.

These gifts from on High can remind us of the Order in the universe. Things don’t happen randomly. These wonders were emplaced for us to find, study, and rejoice in.

The lessons I glean from my fascination with gems, crystals, and mineral specimens parallel my determination to live a life of happiness:

* Looking within hidden places for treasure just might reveal some.
* Adopting minute changes can make grand differences.
* Embrace everlasting truths for what we value can be capricious and trendy (they are just rocks, after all).
* Enjoy the beauty and sparkle while you can.

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Jewelry Supplies

I’m going to make some bracelets! Or earrings! Or necklaces! Or all three! What a find on Craigslist. Thanks to the generous person who added all of this swag to the crimping tool I inquired about.

Crimping tool and beading supplies obtained via Craigslist

Crimping tool and beading supplies obtained via Craigslist

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