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All About Opals2018-03-18T15:35:16+00:00

All About Opals

Opal is the national gemstone of Australia.  Opals are classed as a mineraloid, unlike crystalline forms of silica, which are classed as minerals.  Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica (SiO2·nH2O); its water content may range from 3 to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6 and 10%.

Firstly, it is a closely placed array of millions of spherical particles of amorphous silica, stacked in a three dimensional grating. Because of the special grating of the spheres, it is the only gemstone known to man that has the unique natural ability to diffract, that is to split white light or ordinary sunlight into all the beautiful colours of the rainbow.

Robert Moore, the manager of Muggarie Station, known now as Angledool, made the first record of, pretty coloured stones’ from Lightning Ridge in 1873. A former Ravenswood gold miner, he had picked up the stones on the Nebea Ridges and sent them to Sydney for evaluation, only to be informed they were of no commercial value.

Robert Moore, the manager of Muggarie Station, known now as Angledool, made the first record of, pretty coloured stones’ from Lightning Ridge in 1873. A former Ravenswood gold miner, he had picked up the stones on the Nebea Ridges and sent them to Sydney for evaluation, only to be informed they were of no commercial value.