Opals come in a wide spectrum of colours from white through to black, via blue, green, yellow and pink. Some are milky or iridescent, others clear or fiery. The vast majority of opals are found in Australia, making them the national gemstone.
Opals are a form of silica and they are easily recognisable because of the way they seem to play with the light. All the colours of the rainbow may be displayed and burst like fireworks as the stones move in the light.
The name is thought to come from upalas, the Sanskrit for precious stone.
At 11" long (280 mm) the Olympic Australis is the largest opal ever found. It was found in 1956 during the Melbourne Olympics and was named in their honour.
Opals are the birthstone for October and opal jewellery makes a lovely present.
Opals are traditionally given as a gift for a 14th anniversary.
Healers believe that opals will stimulate creativity and strengthen the will to live, that wearing them will re-energise you and enhance self-worth.