Opal Characteristics: Precious opal is a gemstone that
exhibits flashes of rainbow-like colors when viewed from
different angles. The colors are created by an arrangement of
silica spheres within the opal. Common opal does not have
this flash of color.
Opal Colors: Opals have a light or dark body color that may
be either translucent or transparent. The opals we see most
often in jewelry have a milky-white base with varying flashes
of color.
Black opals are the most rare and expensive opals, with a body
color that can range from dark grey to black with fiery flashes
of color. Precious fire opals are another alternative. They have
base colors ranging from yellow to orange, and can be
transparent to translucent with fiery flashes.

Opal Hardness: Opal hardness varies, but generally ranges
from 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. Compare that to diamond,
which rated at 10 is the hardest gem.

Opal Care: Do not use harsh cleansers on your opals and do
not clean opals with ultrasonic cleaners. Never rub oil on an
opal, because although it makes the fire brighter it can damage
the opal. Some jewelers recommend you periodically soak
opals in water to help them reabsorb lost moisture.
Antique 18K gold
and sapphire ring
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Vintage Southwest Rings