Opals & Gemstones

Sapphires and their heavenly blue

Here at NIXIN, we strive to delight our customers — offer you one-of-a-kind artistic pieces fueled by our passion and our devotion to colorful gemstones. It’s no secret, Opals are our starlets, nevertheless, like all great headliners, they shine brightest when in the company of equally amazing co-stars. Pairings that work to spotlight their nuances and elevate their beauty. At NIXIN Jewelry, we complement Opal’s natural charisma with other extraordinary gemstones, amongst them diamondsemeralds, pearls, and sapphires. In this blog article we’re going to explore the last of that grouping, sapphires. Not only what they are, but also what they mean to certain cultures, how they are used, the colors and types you might encounter, and we’ll touch upon some historic facts that may surprise you. 


What are Sapphires?


Sapphires are precious gemstones — a branch of the corundum mineral species. Most sapphires have a high concentration of aluminum oxide, with small amounts of other elements, such as iron, titanium, vanadium, chromium, and magnesium.

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Ethical Opals --- Are you buying "conflict-free" gemstones?

Today, it’s estimated that conflict diamonds represent about 4% of the total diamond market — and some traders even think that the number could reach even higher, to about 15%. Still, it’s incredibly low compared to industry standards from the mid 20th century and early 21st century. Back then, conflict diamonds accounted for more than half the market. Thanks to various initiatives including UN missions, more clarity from governments, advocacy groups, and even movies - like 'Blood Diamond' starring Leo DiCaprio - the practice has diminished — primarily in the Sierra Leones where unethical discipline has cost the lives of over 4 million workers. We’ve undoubtedly come a long way. But what about other gemstones? What about Opals? Is there such a thing as conflict Opals? In this post we're going to explore the Opal trade, give you a peek behind the curtain of Opal excavation, and address IF there’s such a thing as Blood Opals. 


Ethical Opals


“Conflict-free Opals”— though you know what we mean, within the industry we don’t generally use that portmanteau — they're more commonly referred to as “good trade Opals’ or “Ethical Opals.” When it comes to choosing Opal jewelry,

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Pearls --- and its mysteries

In this blog piece, we’re going to explore the unique idiosyncrasies and history of the gemstone that’s unlike other gemstones — the pearl. We’ll address the definition of pearls, how they are formed, the types of pearls available for purchase on the market, and a bit about their fascinating history. Here at Nixin Jewelry, we appreciate the beauty of pearls – it’s not a stone we often use in our pieces, but it's one we can’t help but admire. Like diamonds, emeralds, and other gemstones, pearls are natural masterpieces. It’s paramount for consumers to understand what factors to consider when investing in a pearl.


What are pearls?


Pearls are hard lustrous gemstones formed within the soft tissue of mollusks; generally by mussels in freshwater and by oysters in saltwater. Like the shells of these mollusks, a pearl is largely composed of calcium carbonate.


The ideal pearl, the type that is most sought out for jewelry, is perfectly round and smooth with high luster (the bigger, the better) — nevertheless, it’s important to highlight the fact that pearls, despite common misconceptions, come in an array

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Our Process --- How we make Opal Art

We’re taking a side road to tap into our process and what it takes to create thoughtful, experiential, exquisite pieces of Opal art. How we, at NIXIN, craft our unique Australian Opal jewelry. At NIXIN Jewelry, we create Opal masterpieces whose cornerstone is the Queen of Gems. It carries unique characteristics that separate it from other gemstones and are obvious at first glance. Although every gemstone is unique, we find Opal to be even more so than its brethren — diamonds, emeralds, sapphires — Opals are powerfully singular and each one, right out of the ground, bears a volume’s worth of one-of-kind features. Distinctive. Colorful. Unexpectedly misshapen. Opal art is a specialty of its own right, with many layers required including patience, planning, a perceptive eye, and perhaps most important, passion for the artist to infuse into every single piece. In this article we’re going to share our passion for the subject and give you a behind-the-scenes look at how we approach creating the Opal jewelry of our dreams.


Romancing The Stone


Before we can even begin to design the piece, we first need to handle the gemstone — the Opal. Let it speak to us and offer us a clue as to what final form it wants to take. We try to approach each gemstone without any preconceived

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Emeralds --- The Green Gem That Enchanted the World

Emeralds are unique and coveted gemstones that, like diamonds, sync up beautifully with the luster of Opals. They complement each other in colorful and lavish ways, highlighting the very best features of one another. Here at NIXIN, we love using emeralds and other colored gems to design vibrant and chromatic pieces, as well as to adorn our Opals with them to create Opal jewelry that is truly one-of-a-kind. We strive to create positively jaw-dropping pieces — no matter what gemstone we use. In this article, we’re going to explore the world of emeralds; their properties, their origin, their etymology, and also their history and a bit of their lore. 


What are Emeralds?

 


Emeralds, like Opals, are a gemstone and a variety of mineral — more specifically, they belong to the beryl mineral family. The mineral is colored green due to trace amounts of chromium or vanadium, and iron can contribute a bluish tint to the

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A Crash-course In Gemstones

Let’s put on our miner’s hat and talk about gemstones — gemstones in general. Not just Opals, but the whole gamut. From diamonds to garnets, all the way to sapphires. It’s important to understand the range of gemstones available, how they differ and where they come from. Not only to expand your gemological awareness, but to elevate it in case you’re thinking of investing in a special gemstone, maybe for a wedding ring, or perhaps as a personal gift. 


What Are Gemstones?


Gemstones are minerals, rocks, or organic matter that are products of geological changes. These stones are pieces of mineralized crystals; these crystals are then cut and polished, and typically used for jewelry and adornments. 


Each gemstone has different characteristics. For example, some aren’t minerals at all, but organic matter like amber, jet, and pearls — yet they are still considered by many to be gemstones. Another divergent characteristic is that some gemstones

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Opal hunting in the US --- Where to mine for these gemstones

95% of all Opals are mined in Australia, in legendary towns like Lightning Ridge. Places full of bravado, Wild West attitude, and a sort of pioneer spirit that seems plucked straight from a romantic novel. This is where the best quality gemstones are unearthed, where the types of Opals that Queens proudly wear are collected from the earth as a labor of love, where black Opal is predominantly found. The vestigial 5% is mostly mined in places like Ethiopia, Mexico, and Brazil. Places that are often a bit more relaxed when it comes to federal oversight, places where the trade is oftentimes perilous and incredibly dangerous — full of bandits, desperados, and hostile fauna. But, did you know that in the US we’re also known for our love of Opal hunting? We have a rather rich community of adventurers that devotes themselves to this pursuit. In this article, we’re going to investigate the US Opal hunting community and give you a few stops and key mining sites in case you want to get in on the hunt and find Opal in the United States. 


A Treasure Hunt For Opals 


In the US we have a rather colorful love affair with gemstones and precious metals. We simply can’t get enough of them, it’s embedded in our DNA. Why did we venture out into the coyote-infested patch of dirt called the West? Because

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Facts and Myths About Opals

Opals aren’t exempt from the onslaught of fake news the rest of the world experiences. The magnificent gemstone has to deal with a wide variety of often outrageous, sometimes defamatory, and oftentimes ill-informed news reports. In this article, we’re going to clarify some of those myths, fables, and bogus claims routinely made about Opals. Fraudulent, invented or purely errant stories that in many cases might inform a person’s decision to invest in an Opal. From how fragile Opals actually are, all the way to how they react to water. Come with us as we chase down Opal facts while dismissing some of the myths surrounding the special stone. 


Opal Facts and Myth


Myth: The only good Opals are those that come from Australia.


Fact: Yes, 95% of Opal production in the world comes from Australia. That koala paradise, full of pristine beaches and all types of cute little marsupials has a rather active and heavily enforced - and protected - Opal mining industry. Some of the

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Ethiopian Opals --- A guide to these fascinating Opals.

95% of all Opals are mined in the greater Australian plains. Mining occurs in patches of rich land like New South Wales, in spots like Lightning Ridge, in mining towns that are heavily regulated and expertly manned not only by professional miners but by a governmental body that governs the excavation process to ensure ethical extraction of the gems and compliance with procedures. 95% of all Opals come from the Land Of Down Under. But what about the rest? What about that vestigial 5%? In today’s article, we’re going to talk about that branch of the Opal family. We’ll explore the vibrant, savage, sometimes bizarre history behind that small subsidiary grouping — in particular, the second biggest Opal producing nation in the world, Ethiopia. We’ll dive deep into the history of Opal mining in that African nation, explore the differences between Australian Opals and Ethiopian Opals, and provide you with a crash course on what to look for and what to be mindful of when shopping for Ethiopian Opal jewelry. 


A small discovery in 1994 — Ethiopian Opals


There’s no doubt that Australia is the dominant force in the Opal market. For over 100 years this heavyweight has controlled much of the production and mining of this gemstone. Why? Because 95% of it is found within its borders. Not only that,

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Opals: Most Frequently Asked Questions

In this article we’re going to address some of the most pressing questions when it comes to Opals — those frequently Google searched queries that seem to be top of mind. Questions like, what are Opals? Is it hard to maintain Opals? What types of Opals are there? Why are Opals so expensive? These are just some of the many questions we’ll answer in this top Opals FAQ.


An Opals FAQ


Q: What is an Opal?


A: Opal is a hydrate amorphous type of silica — these types of stones have a water content that may range from 3% to 21% of their weight. On account of these characteristics, these types of stones are classified as mineraloids. They are mainly used for jewelry making. 


Q: Are Opals Valuable?

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