Sweet orange opal

Drilling down on the Pantone 2013 Spring colours, we’re loving and staying on the Nectarine (16-1360) bandwagon. It’s dreamy and fresh, you couldn’t really get more spring in your step wearing it. It’s not too bright, so not a neon, there’s a definite softness giving a bright and cheery outlook to this fruity fantasy.

Orange opalSo how do we take it from a colour mood board to jewellery? Easy really, we pick orange opal. It has all the same characteristics of the Pantone colour, leaving us feeling vivacious and revitalized after the winter doldrums.

It’s not just the fabulous colour of orange opals we love, but the stone itself. So we know the nectarine orangey opal is essential for Spring, let’s learn a little bit about the gem itself.

Colour crush: The yield of orange opal is very small, only 2% to 3% is actually the distinct orange we’re looking for. This very small amount of orange opal is later enhanced using a special sugar treatment in order get the vivid orange nectarine colour.

In the sugar treatment process, the opals are heated in a saturated sugar solution, a little acidifying agent is also added to this sugar solution.

These two react together and enhance the colour of the opal to a rich bright orange.

orange opal

Hocus pocus: There’s something special about opals; they have a certain whimsy and mystery about them. Being cloaked in intrigue and superstition for centuries definitely adds to the fairy-tale allure. The ancient Greeks believed the wearer had the ability to predict the future; whereas the Romans looked upon the opal as a symbol of hope and purity. Ancient Arabians believed that the opal fell from the heavens in flashes of lightening. Australian legend states that a huge opal governs the stars.

Orange opalOutta this world: In 2008, NASA broadcasted an exciting discovery – they had found opal deposits on the planet Mars. What got NASA all worked up was that this proves that Mars at some stage must have supported life, Why? Well the opal is made up predominately of water, meaning that Mars must have been a “wet” planet.

A little bit of “Outback” magic: Australia is the largest producer of opals, about 95%. The Aussie’s haven’t hogged all the goodies though. The remaining 5% of opals can be found in Mexico, Brazil, China, and the United States amongst others. The newbies to join the group are Ethiopia and Mali.

Opals are in a class of their own, there is simply no other gemstone like it. The fascinating play of colour they have, as well as the huge variety of colours they’re available in. Without a doubt, magic opals are one to add to your jewellery box. What do you think? Are you an opal fan?

Love TJC xxx

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