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Precious Opal by Undistilled Precious Opal by Undistilled
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Title: Precious Opal
Image: Created by Aaron J. Greenblatt using an Epson Perfection 1200U scanner.
Editing: Edited in PhotoShop 7.0 for size and to apply copyright and border.

Location: This precious opal currently resides in my private collection in the lovely state of Michigan, USA.

Description: This is a natural precious opal from Australia. It is about the size of a US quarter and has not been chemically treated or enhanced in any way. The color in this opal goes all the way through the stone and under just normal lighting conditions this opal radiates with splashes of color in all directions. What I particularly like about this stone is the variety of color patterns and layers. This image doesn't do this stone justice. Opals really need to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

About Precious Opal: Precious opal shows a variable interplay of internal colors and does have an internal structure. At the micro scale precious opal is composed of silica spheres some 150 to 300 nanometers in diameter in a hexagonal or cubic closed-packed lattice. These ordered silica spheres produce the internal colors by causing the interference and diffraction of light passing through the microstructure of opal.

It is the regularity of the sizes of the spheres, and of the packing of these spheres that determines the quality of precious opal. Where the distance between the regularly packed planes of spheres is approximately half the wavelength of a component of visible light, the light of that wavelength may be subject to diffraction from the grating created by the stacked planes. The spacing between the planes and the orientation of planes with respect to the incident light determines the colors observed.

In addition, microfractures may be filled with secondary silica and form thin lamellae inside the opal during solidification.

Information Sources:
[link] (wiki)
[link] (mineralsciences.si.edu)

Legal: Copyright © Aaron J. Greenblatt. All rights reserved. Commercial use prohibited. This image and commentary may not be used for any reason without expressed written consent.


Please click here to view my photography work located in my Gallery.

Please click here for images of my glass work located in my other Gallery.

Please click here for images of my glass studio located in my other Scraps.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconwanderermariz:
WandererMariz Featured By Owner Edited Nov 1, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Are these stones yours?
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2016
This one is. :nod:
Reply
:iconwanderermariz:
WandererMariz Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oooh, wonderful!
Reply
:iconlamorth-the-seeker:
lamorth-the-seeker Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011
That is one spectacular piece of opal!!!
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011
Indeed!

I find it amazing how many rainbows can be seen in it - and they all move around when the stone is turned! So it's like it's 'alive' with color. The only thing more remarkable is to hold a bunch of them in your hand. They're like pieces of broken rainbows!

Now if only they wouldn't craze or crack, they'd be perfect! :nod:
Reply
:iconlamorth-the-seeker:
lamorth-the-seeker Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011
I heard opal does that. Mine haven't cracked, thankfully. They are beautiful stones. I can only imagine how the first person who found them felt, well anyone that finds one must get excited.
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011
I've owned numerous opals from all sorts of locations for more than a decade. Some crack, some craze, and some are just fine. It seems to almost be a "luck" kind of thing, as best I can tell. That said, some opals are known for their cracking - like those from Nevada. While other are known for their stability - like some from Australia. And then there's the new Welo opal from Ethiopia (and thereabouts). No one's really owned them long enough to find out how long they last.

Which sort of makes me wonder why folks are willing to shell out so much money for one.

Buyer beware I suppose. :paranoid:
Reply
:iconlamorth-the-seeker:
lamorth-the-seeker Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011
The seller I get my stones from has a huge chunk of some non-fire blue opal(with minimal matrix), I'm not sure which, but it is beautiful, it wasn't for sale. Didn't matter really, because I didn't have much money to spend.
I've only started to collect seriously just this year and my collection is still small, with small pieces. Most of my pieces are less than $20. My favorite is probably my tiny red coral at $8.50, it's only 3 inches or so tall, but it is a complete specimen from base(on rock with matrix)to tip with no detectable breakage. Beautiful piece.
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011
I've been collecting for decades and have what I consider to be a decent collection of all sorts and kinds of stone material and artifacts.

I personally don't like shelling out big money for specimens - mainly because I know that at the mines where those specimens are found, you can buy them for pennies on the dollar. The markup is just incredible - especially in the 'mystical' market.

They say there's a sucker born every day and I'm telling yah, people who think stones have 'powers' are as easily fooled as they come. (hopefully that's not you) The prices they're willing to pay are ridiculous for material like common quartz points which can be had for $5 a bucket at the mines.

Hopefully your seller isn't gouging you too badly. It seems lots of rock shops and retailers these days have been hiking their prices and talking up the 'mysticism' of rocks. I consider doing things like that to be deceptive marketing at best.
Reply
:iconlamorth-the-seeker:
lamorth-the-seeker Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
I went to the Renaissance fair earlier this month(there are tons of rock vendors there and it only happens once a year). There were several shops selling rocks and mineral specimens, so they had to compete on their prices, but the rock-only shops had the best prices. Other 'mystical' type shops were marking them up rediculously high. I can't imagine the people who would consider paying those prices, I feel bad for them.

I paid good prices on mine, better than the guy I normally get mine from. Actually, the guy I get mine from is charging too much. He gives me huge 'discounts'(what they should cost), but you can find better prices if you trust ebay. I've never been to the Tuscon show, so I don't really know what a 'good price' is.

I buy my rocks and mineral specimens for display purposes, I pick one because I like the way it looks. I don't particularly like regular quartz points(I haven't bought one yet). The guy did give me some but I wouldn't pay for any of those. I can see myself buying a special phantom quartz though.
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
We also have a Renaissance fair that occurs locally here - usually from August thru the beginning of October or thereabouts depending on the weather. I hardly ever buy anything there because it's all over priced as far as I'm concerned. Even simple jewelry is marked way up. Add in the fee for actually getting into the fair (which can be $15) and for parking (which can be $10) and the whole event gets ridiculously expensive.

I too haven't yet gotten to Tuscon. One day though, when I have more discretionary income, I'll make my way there - and probably go gleefully broke in the process! :lol:

I've had some really good luck finding material at mineral shows lately. Especially at the club tables where the material usually comes from donations and old collections and is selling for as little as 25 cents to only a few dollars a piece. With a good eye, I've picked up some really extraordinary specimens and lapidary material - including some amazing rock slabs! So it's definitely worthwhile to attend such a show and spend a few hours picking through the various flats of odd rocks.

:)
Reply
(1 Reply)
:icondiosaluminosa:
DiosaLuminosa Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011
I love opals!
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011
Me too - I just wish they were a little bit more stable.
Reply
:iconkubusrubus:
KubusRubus Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011  Professional General Artist
Woah, that does look awesome!
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011
Thanks. :)
Reply
:iconkubusrubus:
KubusRubus Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2011  Professional General Artist
Okay, I tried with several kinds of opal, as of this time, the boulder looks best but I can definitely see improving on my results as of now. Thank you for the suggestion!
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2011
You're welcome. :)
Reply
:iconoh-noes-oh-noes:
oh-noes-oh-noes Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2010   Writer
Awesome! :D My Aunt has a similar one, but from Ethiopia...
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2010
Ethiopian opals are definitely catching on in the mineral/gem marketplace today. At shows, I've seen rough lots of them sold next to Australian opals by several opal dealers, and Rock & Gem magazine has even featured them in an article.

:)
Reply
:iconoh-noes-oh-noes:
oh-noes-oh-noes Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2010   Writer
Yeah! I have about 40 grams worth, but I won't be getting much soon... Prices keep going up! D:
Reply
:icondarkhorse11:
darkhorse11 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Facinating. I'd love the learn more about the structure of the opal and how the light diffracts in ways that allow the eye to perceive all those colors. I could hypothesize I suppose.
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2008
You can do some significant research online into opal formation and light dispersion. Lots of people have been studying opals for a very long time.

:)
Reply
:iconbloodxpig:
bloodXpig Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2008
I love it, I could look at it for such a long time, I love Opal, so pretty!
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2008
:)
Reply
:iconinca-17:
Inca-17 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Wonderfull colours! Wow! :D
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
Indeed. :nod:
Reply
:iconkatisconfused:
KatIsConfused Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
oooOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo
Reply
:iconundistilled:
Undistilled Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2008
:)
Reply
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