Opal was the favorite Gem of Pliny the Elder, writer and naturalist among the most famous of Ancient Rome. Plinio remained enchanted by the Opal colors because it is a Gem that owns the Red of Ruby , the green of the Emerald, the yellow of the Topaz, the blue of the Sapphire and the purple of the Amethyst .
There are numerous legends fed by the housewives of the past regarding the Opal. When they found each other to criss-cross each other, they gave this “Superstitious Gem” a hard life, until they came to define it as contaminated by Devil.
The non-noble reputation of the Opal can be dated to 48 BC. In fact, the very bad reputation of the aforementioned Gemstone was born because of a stubborn historical figure: Senatore Nonio. He owned the most beautiful Opal in circulation and refused numerous offers from Marco Antonio, who wanted to give it to Cleo.
Nonio knew that, nolens volens, sooner or later he would have to surrender his jewel to the mighty Marco Antonio, so he rushed out of Rome.
Unfortunately, during his flight, Nonio died, precisely because of the Precious Opal, that he swallowed to escape a Roman Guards control.
Therefore we can definitively establish that the golden palm for the Gemstone bringing more misfortune of the millennium undoubtedly goes to the Precious Opal! Perhaps for this reason here in Italy Opal has never broken down, after all we are a people of superstitious, because in fact you can’t ever know..
If on the one hand the Play-of-color is its fascinating value, on the other hand the hardness is its Achilles heel. In fact, Opal measures from 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale and we must also be very careful about how to take care of it. In fact, Opal holds trapped in its silicon structure percentages of water up to 20 percent, which, if they were lost, would result in fractures within the Gem and therefore immediately in the losing of its charm.
There are two Opal categories: Precious Opaland Common Opal. The Precious Opal Gemstone shows the Play of Color, while the Common Opal Gemstone does not exhibit it.
Opal does not have a crystalline structure, for this reason it is an amorphous Gemstone. With a microscope able of magnifying up to thirty thousand times the image, billions of silicon spheres have been discovered inside the Opal.
The Opal is made of microscopic stacked spheres as are oranges in the boxes or ping pong balls in a box.
It is precisely this arrangement of the Opal spheres that allows the display of the optical phenomenon called Play of Color. In fact, the waves of light travel between the silicon spheres, diffract or bend. As soon as they bend, they break up into the colors of the rainbow, that is, the spectral colors.
The silicon spheres with a diameter of 1 micron produce the violet color of the play of color. On the other hand, the 2 micron diameter Silicon spheres produce the red color of the Play of color. Finally the spheres ranging between 1 and 2 micron produce in the Opal Gemstone all the other colors of the rainbow.
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