Opals & Gemstones

Australian Opal Mining Fields --- An in-depth look.

Do you own an Opal ring or other item of Opal jewelry? Perhaps someone in your family does? Well, chances are that the Opal it sports hails from Australia. Opals are among the most prized gemstones used in jewelry - alongside diamondsemeraldspearls, and sapphires. They are incredibly dynamic stones known for their play of color, that encompass a rainbow spectrum of hues. Each one is unique - their variety extraordinary - and over 95% of them come from Australia. Opals from each individual mining town bear stone characteristics common to that region. In this article, we’ll provide a breakdown of the most significant Australian Opal mining towns and the types of Opals unearthed from each one. 

Australian Opals

Australia has a rich and fascinating history when it comes to Opals. One that dates back 5 million years to when the gemstone was first forming during the Cretaceous age. Despite its primordial history, Australia’s impressive Opal reserve

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Uses of Opals

It takes millions of years for a single Opal to form — to finesse its way into existence.  Each stone is a product of natural forces and perhaps a bit of sheer luck. From the Australian outback, to the now almost desiccated mines in Eastern Europe, all the way to newly formed markets, like Ethiopia — each of these places produces one-of-a-kind Opals, each one unique and beautiful. And every stone is given purpose, not by nature, but by humanity. We extract it, allocate it, and assign it intention. In this article, we’re going to talk about the different usages, modern and old, of Opal gemstones. How we, as humans, have given Opals different purposes throughout history. We'll answer the question, "What are Opals used for?" 

Usage of Opals — What are Opals used for


The most common use of Opals, the one that permeates through time, is their use in jewelry. Precious Opals in particular, have become coveted possessions by Opal Collectors due to their rare and exceptional beauty. History is rife with

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Black Opal Q & A

The most valuable and the rarest of Opals, Black Opals, have garnered allure for centuries and continue to grow in popularity. But what makes them so desirable? What draws us to them? Why are we so captivated by them? In this article, we’ll discuss some of the key characteristics of Black Opals and provide a point-by-point Q & A to aid in your search for the perfect Black Opal jewelry. 


Black Opal Q & A


Where do Black Opals come from?


Like most of the world’s Opals, the vast majority of Black Opal comes from Australia. 95% of the Opal mining industry has called this place home since the late 19th century. Most high-quality Black Opals come from Lightning Ridge in New South Wales. 

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Australian Opal Vs Ethiopian Opal

When choosing which type of Opal Jewelry to invest in there are a multitude of factors to consider. Things like the origin of the stone, its colors, durability and of course its price all come into play. These considerations are not only important to end-point consumers but also to jewelers. The latter has to be certain that they are in fact investing in a gemstone that they will be able to sell, and more importantly, will result in a happy Client who will return for years to come. One of the first steps toward procuring your Opal piece is determining what region of the world you want your stone to be sourced from. Most Opals, 95% of them, come from the land of down under, Australia. But what about that fledgling 5%? Well, aside from Australia, the biggest exporter is Ethiopia. In this article, we’re going to compare Australian Opals to Ethiopian Opals to help you understand some of their differences so that you can decide which type of Opal best suits you. Australian Opal vs Ethiopian Opal — let's dive into their distinctions.

Where does Opal come from?

First, it’s important to understand where Opals come from and how they are formed. While most Opal develops slowly, over millions of years, in fine pressurized layers of sedimentary rock, most Ethiopian Opal forms in volcanic

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Empress Josephine’s “Burning of Troy” Opal

Opals have had a rather interesting stroll through history. Mankind has had a magnetic draw to them, and turbulent relationship with them since they were first uncovered. Diamonds, sapphires, and pearls are relative newcomers when compared to the draw of the illustrious Opal. To what extent? Diamonds only recently, as of the 15th century, started to be used in engagement rings. Up until that time, Opals had been the cornerstone gem when it came to jewelry making. They were extremely valuable and sought out by collectors and sovereignty — by Emperors, Sultans, Pharaohs, and Kings. In this article, we’re going to talk about one of those Opal collectors and a particular Opal he acquired - a mysterious one with a rather cryptic history. It's a chronicle that includes Napoleon Bonaparte, and Empress Josephine de Beauharnais — we’re going to discuss the enigmatic “Burning of Troy” Opal.

Napoleon and Empress Josephine 

By the time Madame de Beauharnais met Napoleon Bonaparte in 1795, she'd already had a series of affairs and two children under her wing. The aristocrat had been previously married - though unhappily - and widowed, after her first husband

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Opal Fossils and the Story of Eric The Dinosaur

Opals are some of the most breathtaking gemstones in existence. Since humanity stumbled upon them, they have captivated our imagination. They were among the first gemstones used for engagement rings, and for professing one's love, they have been used as religious icons and talismans - and in some parts of the world still are - and today, they are one of the main exports of Australia and Ethiopia. Why are they so fascinating? Well, because Opals are diverse in a way unlike diamonds or other gemstones. Not only due to their color, but due in part to their composition. In this blog, we’ve discussed their color and composition — talked about synthetic Opals, Boulder Opals, Black and Crystal Opals. We’ve broken them down and given accounts of what makes them so unique and special. Today, we’re adding a new one to the list — Fossil Opals, or Fossilized Opals. Stick around and find out what they are, how they form, and learn about the various types that have been unearthed. 

What are Fossil Opals?

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, in Australia - one of the biggest contemporary Opal depositories in the world - The Great Artesian Basin was an inland sea, the Eromanga Sea. It covered much of Australia, including parts of

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Opal Dos and Don'ts

Humanity’s passion for Opals has persisted throughout the ages. These magnificent gemstones have been popular for centuries and part of their allure is due to their unparalleled beauty and their rather esoteric and bizarre history. Opal’s history, from its humble beginnings in Roman Marketplaces to its unusual branding in the Dark Ages, is absolutely fascinating. Unlike some of their gem-contemporaries, such as diamonds and sapphires, Opals have a play of color that results in a unique and captivating show of varied hues and tones, with an unforgettable luster and shine. To maintain that luminescence, it's important to know how to properly care for them — how to treat opal jewelry, the dos and don'ts of maintenance. In this article, we’re going to give you a cheat sheet on all you need to know in order to easily care for your Opal jewelry and keep it looking amazing for years to come. 

Opal — beautiful and delicate

Unlike some other popular gemstones, (diamond being the most extreme comparison) Opals are a delicate gem, susceptible to scratches, crazing, or even breakage. Opals are a hydrated amorphous form of silica — 

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Opals Throughout History Part 2

Last week’s article took us on a journey through time — across millennia as we explored the first fledgling steps of Opals, digging into their history, their industry, and their allure. From their ancient origins to their fabled branding, their history is one full of myths, lies, and folklore. We had intimate encounters with Cleopatra and with her paramour, Mark Antony. We discussed the first Roman bazars, places where Opals were bought and sold to the elite. And finally, we left you in suspense, promising more tales of Opal’s fascinating history. Today, we’re here to deliver on our promise. So prepare to be spellbound as we slip back in time and continue our tale of Opal’s history.

Superstition, death, violence and the plague

The fall of the Roman Empire and the splintering of its civilization lead to an erratic time in history. Everything was a bit precarious and society, at least western - European society, was on a precipice — 

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Opals throughout history 

The history of Opals is shrouded in both fact and fiction — in science and mysticism. It is part of this magnificent gemstone’s dynamic appeal. Throughout history, different origins have been attributed to the “Queen of Gems.” Ancient prophets and kings believed Opals were gifts from the gods that had fallen from heaven like shooting stars, and that with them, they could command the blessings of deities. This is just one of the many origin stories ascribed to this precious stone. In this article, we’re going to delve into the history of Opals. We’ll touch upon some of the myths and odd trivia surrounding Opals, but we’ll also share Opal facts revealed throughout time. 

The Lore of Opals

Throughout history, revered men and women, poets, writers, politicians, and philosophers have compared opals to volcanos, stars, galaxies, and fireworks — mystical and beautiful phenomena. They have been enamored with the

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Gold --- The Gold Standard

Opal might be our bias when it comes to jewelry — the gemstone that most fascinates us, and the pulse of the NIXIN Brand — but that doesn’t mean we can’t be captivated by other gemstones, other natural wonders, other metallurgic eye-openers. Opal shines on its own, right out of the earth, but with just the right adornments, its beauty can be elevated in the most arresting ways. And a gemstone as breathtaking as Opal deserves equally striking elements to accompany it. That is why at NIXIN we are all about cradling our Opals in gold. In this article we’re going to tell you about the properties of gold, how it’s rated, and what type to look for. All you need to know about gold. 

What Is Gold?

Gold is a natural chemical element - a metal - with the symbol Au, for aurum, and the atomic number 79. Gold is naturally a dense, malleable and soft medium. These characteristics make it one of the most ductile metals in existence. 

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