The old wive’s tale has been dispelled for at least two generations but opals were thought to bring bad luck to the recipient unless they were born in the month of October. Opals come in many different varieties and colors. The most sought after is black opal, particularly with red as the predominant color. The most common is white opal which is opaque with a white to off-white base
Opals come in a vast array of colors, as a matter of fact, the entire spectrum. You are able to choose the type of opal, predominant color and additional colors and the pattern. The pattern can be a harlequin (patchwork), pinfire (small pinpoint circles) or flashfire (large irregular areas). They also come in different degrees of brightness, which adds beauty and value to the stone. Opal is unique in that it will compliment any attire because of the variegated colors and nuances.
Opals have a tendency to “dry out” if left in a hot environment (basking in the sun) or in a near vacuum (safety deposit box) over extended periods of time. If in a closed container such as at the bank or in a display case, place a small jar of water near it to keep up the moisture level. Most opals are stable if they have been around a long time, but these precautions should be acknowledged. Should you contemplate an opal purchase, be sure to inquire about the existence or absence of any “crazing.”
Cos Altobelli is a third generation jeweler and president of Altobelli Jewelers in Burbank, previously located in North Hollywood for 60 years. His specialty is appraising for all functions and acting as an expert witness. He holds a graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America and the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser from the American Gem Society. He is the author of three appraisal books and has appeared on ABC-TV’s “Prime Time Live.” Altobelli can be reached at (818) 763-5151.