- 1 Fire Opal Stone
- 1.1 Physical properties of fire opal.
- 1.2 History of fire opal.
- 1.3 Main deposits of fire opal.
- 1.4 How is fire opal obtained?
- 1.5 How to identify a fire opal.
- 1.6 Energetic properties of fire opal.
- 1.7 Benefits of fire opal.
- 1.8 Various uses of fire opal.
- 1.9 Cleaning and care of fire opal.
- 1.10 Curiosities of the fire opal.
Fire Opal Stone
Opal is considered a mineral belonging to the group of silicates, tectosilicates, according to the Strunz classification. Its composition is similar to that of quartz, with the difference that the opal has water internally. Opal is often found filling cavities with sedimented rocks or rhyolites. There are many varieties of existing opals, which have various different and colors. The chemical formula of this mineral is SiO2nH2O.
The fire opal is an unusual variety, also called Opal Mexico, where two main types. One of them is yellow, orange or transparent red without any color play, and the other is brown and has a color play or stripe.
Physical properties of fire opal.
- Color: colorless, white, yellow, brown, red, orange, green, blue and black.
- Raya: blanca.
- Luster: subvitroso to waxy.
- Transparencia: opaque – transparent – translucent.
- Crystal system: amorphous.
- Crystalline habit: masses or nodules, irregular veins.
- Exfoliation: does not have.
- Fracture: conchoidal to uneven.
- Hardness: 5 – 6.5 (Mohs).
- Density: 1.9-2.3 g / cm³
- Refractive index: 1,450 (+.020, -.080)
- Birefringence: does not have.
- Pleocroism: does not possess.
History of fire opal.
Opal derives from the Sanskrit word upala which means precious stone. Then came the Greek words opallion and the Latin word opalus. In ancient times, opal was well known in all its colors, which is why they appear in many myths and legends of the peoples of the world.
The Greco-Romans believed that the fire opal was a stone of prophecy and clairvoyance, where with it the will of the gods could be understood and interpreted. In the Middle Ages and until the end of the Renaissance in Europe, opal was considered a very powerful amulet, which brought good luck, which was highly appreciated by monarchs and people of great power.
The Aztecs used fire opal to make ceremonial and ornamental objects, which they called vitzitziltecpal or hummingbird, due to the great similarity that this opal had with the plumage of this bird. The Aztecs believed that it had properties and considered it the stone of wisdom.
In the 16th century, a fire opal was found in a temple , which was called “Aztec Sun God”. In 1881 this specimen was sold to the Chicago Museum of Natural History, but today it is part of the Tiffany & Co. company gem collection.
Main deposits of fire opal.
Specifically in Mexico is where the best specimens of fire opals are found, but in countries such as Guatemala, Brazil, Australia and the United States, there are also deposits.
The main variety of this opal can be found in deposits in the state of Querétaro (Iris and Guacamaya mines) of that entity. But according to the Ministry of Economy of Mexico, the main producing state of this mineral is Guanajuato.
How is fire opal obtained?
Finding this mineral is not an easy task, one must be very lucky when searching within the quarry, since sometimes the bubbles found are very small and this exploitation is not very viable. That is why in the Mexican market, the small pieces of polished quarry that are found are seen in small quantities.
It is also important to know that there are no two pieces of fire opals alike, neither in characteristics nor in shape. Motivated that each mine is different and only an expert in this mineral can recognize in 70% of which mine the stone was extracted.
How to identify a fire opal.
It is important to know how to distinguish a supreme opal from a low-quality one, where its characteristics, shape, color, transparency, size, the light it radiates and especially that it is not fractured must be considered.
Market prices can vary, since there is a great difference between those that are bought as souvenirs and those that are destined for fine jewelry.
Their actual size is known when excess quarry is removed, although they are generally preserved in their natural form. This stone can be faceted, but at the risk of splintering and damage, therefore they are mounted or covered with some precious metal to prevent it from being struck or damaged.
Unlike the European public, this variety of opal is not as well known in Mexico, so people do not know its value and in that country there is no market for fire opal .
Energetic properties of fire opal.
- This opal brings spontaneity to your life, in addition to change and progress.
- It allows you to look inside yourself so that you can draw strength and go deeper on a spiritual level.
- The fire opal gives you shine and clarity in the reflective and intuitive process, managing to inspire your emotions.
- This mineral keeps you strong in stressful situations and gives you extra energy when you’re exhausted.
- It gives you hope for the future and stimulates faith in yourself.
- It stimulates your energy, your circulation, improves your vision, and treats problems of the central nervous system.
- Combat anxiety.
- Relax the nervous system.
- Reduces insomnia problems.
- Relieves pain caused during and after delivery.
- It helps to find the emotional balance of a person, removing feelings of worry and anxiety.
- It helps the person to maintain a positive dynamic in their thoughts.
- Help whoever wears it to find true love.
- Protects the person from their own feelings, raising their self-esteem, providing emotional security and self-confidence.
Benefits of fire opal.
Various uses of fire opal.
In addition to the benefits noted above, fire opal is also used to achieve harmony in a couple, where the pacts of loyalty and love are sealed in both, helping them to base their relationship on tolerance and respect.
Artists also use this mineral in order to increase their creativity and obtain a better imagination and inspiration when preparing these artistic works.
Another use and one of the most important of this gem is in jewelry, where it is used to make any type of garment or jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, charms, pendants, among others. And even to be embedded in ornamental pieces that are highly sought after by collectors, it should be noted that since it is a difficult stone to find, jewelery made with this opal has a very high market value.
Some people use this stone as protection and one way to use it is to carry a piece or piece of the stone in their purse or bag as an amulet and even placing it in any corner of their home. Other people choose to buy a jewel (earrings, bracelet, pendants), in order to obtain the benefits of opal, taking them anywhere.
Cleaning and care of fire opal.
They are very delicate stones, since they have a high water content. If the fire opal is allowed to dry, it will crack and therefore become damaged.
If you have a piece of opal, and live in a very dry climate, or this stone is kept in a dehumidified room, you need to take some precautions, for example: keep them in a tightly closed plastic bag with a piece of cotton or moistened tissue, this would prevent dehydration of the stone. The fire opal is also very sensitive to temperature changes, due to its water content.
Because they are very soft, these stones are easily scratched, causing any large dust component when trying to be removed from the opal to gradually reduce its shine. Therefore, it is recommended to clean these opals with a very soft cloth.
It is also important not to put this stone in contact with any type of chemical, not even with cosmetic or beauty products, as they could damage the stone.
Curiosities of the fire opal.
Fire opals can sometimes be faceted, although other varieties of opal can be cut in cabochons.
The empress Josefina, received a gift from her husband Napoleon I, it was an opal called “Fire of Troy”, since it showed a pronounced play of fire red colors. This opal is said to have disappeared under strange circumstances.
In Mexico, specifically in the state of Chihuahua, an opal specimen was recently found, considered today the largest opal in the world. Which weighed more than 4 kg or more than 20 carats. It was baptized with the name of “Lion’s Head”, since it has a shape of mane similar to that of a lion.