Chestnuts are roasting, carolers are caroling, Jack Frost is nipping at your windows, it’s that time of the year — Christmas. The holidays. The merriest season of the whole year. And part of the holiday spirit is figuring out what to get for your loved ones. Uncovering and presenting that perfect gift that not only tells them you love them but can also leave them a bit awestruck. This season, why not gift them an Opal? In this article we’re going to tell you why Opal gifts, come the holidays, make great presents. We’ll also share some key facts, regarding these gemstones, that might help you out during your purchases — why they are the perfect christmas gift.
Why Opals on Christmas?
Why not? Opals are the type of gemstone that works as gifts year round, regardless of the season. Christmas in particular is a great time of year to show your loved ones, or that special ONE, how much you care for them. Jewelry is a beautiful medium to express it through, a welcomed commodity under the tree, and Opals have a couple of other things going for them as well.
Let’s dig right in!
Good Luck Charm
Since the times of ancient Rome, and even before, precious Opals were considered to be good luck charms. Everyone from those intrepid Romans to Egyptians and Greeks loved gifting Opals due to their supposed supernatural powers. This became an even greater trend during the Middle Ages when Opals became famous for their alleged beneficial properties to the eyes, deeming them the moniker ‘ophthalmics’— and for the widely accepted belief that when worn as a pendant in an opal necklace, they could prevent blonde women’s hair from losing its color.
No two Opals are the same. They can differ wildly from one another. Not only are there different types of Opals:
- Precious: those with play of color, and most valuable used for jewelry and other decorative industries.
- Common: those lacking play of color, often used as knick knacks or souvenirs for kids.
- Artificial: those created in labs, also called synthetic Opal or lab created Opal.
But, within these genres we also find subsets like:
- Crystal Opals: Any type of Opal - black Opals, white Opal - which has a transparent or almost semi-translucent body.
- Boulder Opals: Opals mined from large ironstone boulders down under the ground. Cutters/miners have to leave this deposit attached to the back of the Opal in order to form full-sized gemstones.
On top of subsets and types, we also have to calculate things like body type, colors, hues, backgrounds, deposits, and other critical factors. Every one of these features contributes to what makes each Australian Opal a unique stone. Irreplaceable and truly one-of-a-kind. This singularity, unlike other gemstones, can be noticed instantly when admiring an Australian Opal stone.
They Are Incredibly Romantic
Opals are tied to history in a way that no other gemstone is. How? Because, way back in antiquity, Opals were far more precious and sought after than diamonds, or rubies, or emeralds. Those other gemstones could be unearthed much more easily than Opals, and there was a rather vast trading network for them. Meanwhile, Opals could only be excavated in certain places. Regions that were incredibly inaccessible and weren’t part of what was considered ‘civilized society’ — in other words, places that weren’t part of the Roman Empire or its many tributaries.
Cleopatra depicted --- British Museum
So, when Opals were bought, traded, or given as a gift it was a rather impressive show of affection. Princesses and queens received them as a symbol of devotion. Ownership of the magnificent stone was so consequential that wars were fought and kingdoms traded, all to gain possession of the colorful gem. One of the most famous queens in history had a love affair that revolved around Opals - that queen was none other than Cleopatra. She had a vast collection of Opals. This Black Opal ring decorated with stunning green emeralds (another know favorite of the queen's) would fit right into her eminent collection...
Waimea Canyon Emerald and Australian Opal Ring
Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt, was known for her stunning looks, her cunning nature, and her ability to entrance lovers at a glance. She had been the concubine of Julius Caesar, and when he was stabbed to death in the senate, she managed to ensnare a Roman general and statesman named Marc Antony. Both of her lovers were excessive in their show of affection for Cleopatra, to the point that the latter went to war with Rome in part due to his love for her. Their legendary, and ultimately tragic affair, was marked by Marc Antony’s devotion and his constant gift-giving to his love — his favorite present for his Egyptian goddess? Opals.
A Regal Affair
Opals also have a rather interesting history, one that’s tied to the crown and the might of the British Empire. Over 95% of all Opals are excavated and mined in Australia; the Land From Down Under has an iron grip on the market. Though archeological evidence exists pointing at Opal mining in Kenya, North, South and Central America up to 10,000 years ago, the first deposits of Australian Opals were uncovered in the late 19th century. Since then, Australia, particularly the area of New South Wales, has been the biggest producer of Opal in the world.
Up until rather recently, Australia was part of the British Empire - a province. This meant that whatever was produced or mined in the former colony, was of great importance to the crown. Since its discovery, jewelry - pendants, rings, bands, etc - made with Opals have had high marketability due to the media-friendly power of the Royal Family.
All of Britain’s biggest blue blood members - those of social prominence or members of nobility - have worn Opal pieces. Even after Australia gained its complete independence, the Royal Family continued to sport Opal jewelry as part of their tradition. They cherish the stone more than diamonds, emeralds, or other precious gemstones.
It’s An Investment
Aside from their incredible quality and their deep and interesting history, Opals have one more thing going for them — one last factor that makes them great Christmas gifts. They can be an investment opportunity. Though it’s important to understand the stones and know what you’re buying, the bottom line is that there’s just a finite number of Opal deposits left, and sooner or later they’re going to run out.
So, when you gift an Opal jewelry ring you’re in fact giving something that will grow increasingly rare over the years - something that can appreciate as time passes.
Be it an opal ring, earrings or a beautiful Australian Opal necklace, here at NIXIN Jewelry we believe Opals make exceptional gifts for any occasion. Come explore and see what Opal gifts we have in store.