Opals have been used in jewelry as far back as 4000 BC, in Kenya. The ancient Romans regarded the opal as the most powerful gemstone, as a single stone could hold every color of every jewel. It’s hard to argue their logic, every time I’ve worn this ring I’ve felt unstoppable. They called it ‘opalus’, meaning ‘precious stone’. Arabic legends say that opals came down from the heavens with the lightening, falling to earth. I’ve never witnessed this event up close, but who am I to deny such a beautiful and beguiling tale?
This antique pearl and opal gold ring was handcrafted in England around 1830, during the late Georgian or Regency era. A pear-shaped bezel-set precious opal sits at the center of 17 round, half cut pearls, set in 15 karat gold with a closed back mount. The fiery white opal radiates colors of orange, pink, yellow, green, and blue. It measures 9.3 x 7.3 mm. Each of the pearls measure 2 mm in diameter. It’s an elegant piece with decorative shoulders that split into four sections, meeting just more than halfway down the shank. The ring face measures 18.4 x 15.6 x 6.3 mm off the finger and the band width is 5.3 mm at the back. There are no hallmarks and it has been acid tested. Inside the ring, behind the face, are a set of inscribed initials, “J. R”. This beguiling ring is a size 7.75 and weighs 5.7 grams.
“Precious opals” are known for their diffraction of light, called ‘play of color’, in which rainbow colors shine from inside the stone like a kaleidoscope of firelight. The play-of-color in precious opals is caused by the diffraction of light that bounces between the silica spheres that are stacked like microscopic marbles in a box.
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