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Opal Ring Information

GemSelect Opal Rings
About Opal Rings Back to Top

The incredible thing about opal rings is their beautiful play of color, the most valuable feature of opals, which sets them apart from all other gemstones. Furthermore, there is a wide variety of opal gemstones, allowing there to be an opal ring to suit everyone. Opal rings can be found in almost every color, from white to black and pretty much every color in between, including a whole rainbow of multicolor in a single gem. This makes opal rings perfect for both men and ladies; those who like to look dark and mysterious or pale and interesting and anyone who appreciates magnificent multicolor gems. Though opal rings are not as popular as some other colored gemstone rings, they can fetch prices that rival fine diamond rings.

Opal Ring History Back to Top

Opal ring history goes back to the earliest civilizations and opal findings made by anthropologist and archeologist, Louis S. B. Leakey, in a Kenyan cave, dating back to around 4000 B.C. Opal rings were worn in ancient Roman and Egyptian times, when Mark Antony tried to acquire a beautiful opal ring that belonged to Marcus Nonius, with the idea of presenting it to his beloved Cleopatra. However, the Roman Senator Nonius refused a vast fortune in exchange for the ring, and was instructed that if he would not sell it, he should leave town. Opal rings continued to be designed and worn over millennia and centuries until the present day.

Opal Rings of the Rich and Famous Back to Top

Opal rings of the rich and famous include a beautiful black opal ring worn on the red carpet by Taylor Swift at the 2015 Grammys. She also showed off black opal and Paraiba tourmaline earrings and in total, her Lorraine Schwartz opal jewels were worth over $1 million. At the 86th Academy Awards, "American Hustle" star, Amy Adams showed off a Tiffany & Co. fire opal, pink sapphire, yellow diamond and spessartite yellow gold ring. Actress, Lupita Nyong'o showed off a yellow gold and opal ring at the same event. Another star who chose opal was Marion Cotillard, who wore a wonderful opal ring and hand jewelry piece by Chopard at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Despite her white dress, actress, Michelle Monoghan made it apparent that she is not afraid of color, wearing a stunning rose gold black opal halo ring and a pink tourmaline ring to the 66th Emmys. A 26.9-ct black opal ring from Lightning Ridge, Australia was given to the Smithsonian by Mrs. Oliver B. James in 1970. This extremely valuable black opal shows an incredible play of color.

Opal Ring Designs Back to Top
Silver Black Opal Cabochon Ring with Gold Detail
Silver Black Opal Cabochon Ring with Gold Detail
Click to enlarge image

Opal ring designs mostly feature opal cabochons, since cabochons tend to show the best play of color. However, some opal rings may be faceted, especially fire opal rings, since fire opals are valued for their fiery body color, rather than play of color. During the late 19th and early 20th century, Art Nouveau opal rings were very popular, and this continued into the Art Deco period, and platinum and diamond opal rings were designed by famous jewelers such as Louis Comfort Tiffany. Classic opal ring designs include opal solitaire rings and opal halo rings with diamond accent stones. Opal rings may be fashioned from various metals, such as platinum, silver, white gold, yellow gold or rose gold. Contemporary opal rings make use of asymmetrical opals and blackened metals, including black gold, which really brings out the play of color in black opal.

Opal Ring Buying Guide Back to Top

A good opal ring buying guide must address the fact that opal is one of the more delicate gemstones, so an opal ring with a protective setting is the best choice. Protective ring settings are ones which do not expose the gemstone to a lot of wear and tear, such as a bezel. Opal rings require a little more care than many other gemstone rings. This is because opals lack hardness and also because they contain up to 30 percent water. When buying opal rings, for most opal varieties, the gems that show the most play of color tend to have the highest value. Some opal rings are more highly valued than others, for example, precious opal, boulder opal and black opal rings are highly prized. Since opal can be delicate, some opal rings contain gems that have been impregnated or stabilized, which helps to increase the durability of opal rings. Opal doublet rings also have added durability, since the precious opal is glued to a solid backing.

How to Wear Opal Rings Back to Top

There are various opinions on how to wear opal rings. Since opal ring designs are almost infinite, there is an opal ring to suit every occasion. However, when wearing opal rings, it is a good idea to take the setting and wear into account to prevent unnecessary scratches. If the opal ring has an open pronged setting, it may be a good idea to reserve it for occasional wear. However, a bezel-set opal ring would be suitable for everyday wear.

Opal Ring Meanings Back to Top

Opal ring meanings relate to the magical properties attributed to the colorful gemstone. Due to opal's incredible play of color, opal rings have long been thought to contain the properties of all gemstones combined. Indeed, during Roman times, opals were called "opalus", meaning "stone of several elements" and Pliny the Elder described opal as a gem which combined all the best characteristics of the most beautiful gemstones. Thus, opal rings are thought to attract energy from the whole spectrum of light. According to an Australian Aboriginal legend, opals come from the place where the Creator's feet touched the ground after descending from the heavens on a rainbow. Wearers of opal rings are said to benefit from opal's ability to heal depression, dissipate stress, stimulate creativity and encourage the discovery of true love. Ladies who wear opal rings are thought to benefit from easy childbirth and lessened PMS. Due to its porosity, opal rings are also believed to amplify emotions. Opal birthstone rings are worn by those born in October and opal anniversary rings are given for the 14th wedding anniversary.

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  • First Published: August-09-2016
  • Last Updated: August-10-2016
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