Opal Legends of Australian Aborigines

Capture the Essence! of Opal Legends with this Gorgeous Vintage Crystal Opal Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Opal Legends with this Gorgeous Vintage Crystal Opal Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Over 95% of our modern supply of opals is found in the wilds of Australia. Here, opal legends come alive in the spiritual practice of the Aborigines.

Australian Opal Legends

In one such legend, a young boy plants his staff in the ground. While he eats his lunch, the staff solidifies into opal. In another account, opals are said to have flown from the end of a firestick. This firestick was being tossed about by a bronze-winged pigeon. In another, opal was birthed from the footstep of the Creator. And in other stories, some specimens of opal represent the transformed organs of the Ancestral Beings.

The Dreaming

The indigenous people of Australia carry their vast history in a collection of stories. The legends and wisdom (law) of the ancients has been passed down orally from generation to generation. The Dreaming is a recurring part of that history. It refers to the time when Ancestral Beings roamed the earth to establish life. These beings are said to have created the animals, plants, and rocks. They are also credited with establishing the connections between all these life forms.

When they were finished with their work, these Ancestral Spirits shifted shape. They became trees, stars, rocks, and sacred sites such as watering holes. To find these sacred sites is to preserve them. The Aborigines revere them as the link between the past, the present, and the future.

It is said that some of the Australian opals were formed from the organs of those Ancestral Beings. All opal is approached with mystery and power. However, these sacred opals are believed to harness a greater measure of power and mystery. They were left behind as a sign and a remembrance to those who would come later.

The Birth of Opals

Other Australian opal legends include the story of their birth. This story is reported to be a part of The Dreaming, as well. In this account, the Creator visited humanity with a message of peace. He is said to have traveled on the arc of a rainbow. The moment His foot touched ground, the stones beneath his feet sparked to life. In a cascade of rainbow colors, opals were born.

In all of these opal legends, the magnificence and import of opals shine through. Opals are said to bring happiness and good dreams. They are believed to bring hope and stir emotions of loyalty, love, and connection.


  1. Australian Government. “The Dreaming.” Accessed October 21, 2014. http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/dreaming.
  2. Hatchman, Peter. “History of Opal,” Opals on Black website. Accessed October 21, 2014. http://www.opals-on-black.com/HistoryOfOpal.html.
  3. Our Pacific Ocean. “Australia Aboriginal Mythology 1.” Accessed October 21, 2014. http://www.ourpacificocean.com/australia_aboriginal_mythology1/index1.htm.

Jelly Opal History and Characteristics

Capture the Essence! of Jelly Opal with this Victorian-Era Antique Jelly Opal Locket. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Jelly Opal with this Victorian-Era Antique Jelly Opal Locket. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This gorgeous Victorian-Era Jelly Opal Locket is exquisitely made. It features an ornate frame made from solid 14k gold. The detailed setting includes traditional gold work, including milgrain and granulation. The back of this locket has a space for a photo. It currently holds a black onyx tablet. A single multi-colored jelly opal cabochon with broad flash of fire and very strong brilliance graces the center of this locket.

What is Opal?

Opal is considered a mineraloid. This means that it does not form with a solid crystal structure and does not have a rigid chemical composition. This range of chemical compositions allows for many different types of opals, including jelly opals. Among the many different types of opals, black opals, harlequin opals, and fire opals are among the most desirable for jewelry. However, white, semi-black, and jelly opals are extremely popular. Though they are lower in price, they still generate the beautiful play of colors that makes opals so spectacular.

Opals formed long ago when solutions of silicone dioxide and water ran over the surface of the earth. As this liquid moved across the earth, it picked up silica from sandstone. This silica-laden solution pooled in cracks and fissures carved out by decomposing fossils, volcanic activity, and erosion. The water eventually evaporated from these pools, leaving behind layers of silica. Over time, as the cycle repeated itself again and again, nobby rough opals formed in these crevices and cracks.

According to Opals Down Under, today’s opals are found in “wild and unruly places surrounded by a moonscape of mullock humps where people fight against horrendous climate conditions in their search for precious gemstones” {7}. This quote refers to those found in Australia. However, opals are also found around the world in crevices, cracks, stalactites, stalagmites, and in the hollowed-out spaces left by disintegrated fossils.

Gemstone-quality opal (precious opal) was originally found in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Mines in these locations continued to produce the world’s supply of opal until 1922, when the mines began to run dry. Around that same time, opals were discovered in Australia. Today, approximately 97% of the world’s precious opals come from Australia, where opal is the national gemstone.

What is Jelly Opal?

Jelly Opal is a transparent precious opal with a gelatinous appearance. Characteristically, these beautiful gems have a bluish sheen. However, the play of color within them will include yellows, greens, pinks, oranges, and sometimes bright reds.

Jelly Opals are darker in appearance than crystal opals. Today, these beautiful stones are often found alongside black opal in the Lightning Ridge mines of Australia {4}. However, Victorian-Era Jelly Opals, such as the one pictured here, would likely have been found in the Czech mines.

Jelly Opals are more transparent than other types of opal. Therefore, the play of color acts differently. The color rolls through the stone rather than appearing in shifting patches. As with all types of opals, Jelly Opals display more color when they are slightly warmed by nearness to the skin.


  1. AJS Gems. “Opal Gemstone Information.” Accessed October 18, 2014. http://www.ajsgem.com/gemstone-information/opal-95.html.
  2. Collector’s Weekly. “Opal Jewelry.” Accessed October 18, 2014. http://www.collectorsweekly.com/fine-jewelry/opals.
  3. Eckert, Allan W. The World of Opals. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 1997.
  4. Gemstone Co., The. “Buying Guide: Opal.” Accessed October 18, 2014. http://thegemstoneco.com/buying-guide/opal.
  5. Geology.com. “What is Opal?” Accessed October 18, 2014. http://geology.com/gemstones/opal/.
  6. Opals Down Under. “How is Opal Formed? – the Geology of Opal.” Accessed October 18, 2014. http://www.opalsdownunder.com.au/learn-about-opals/advanced/how-opal-formed-geology-opal.
  7. Opals Down Under. “Australian Opal Mining Fields.” Accessed October 18, 2014. http://www.opalsdownunder.com.au/learn-about-opals/intermediate/australian-opal-mining-fields.

Kim Kardashian’s Engagement Ring

Kim Kardashian West in 2014.

Kim Kardashian West in 2014.

Kim Kardashian’s engagement ring from Kanye West was fashioned by A-list designer Lorraine Schwartz. According to a Lorraine Schwartz representative, the ring is a perfect D-Color, Flawless, 15-carat natural white diamond. Mounted on a minimalist band set with pavé diamonds, the diamond appears to hover over the top of her finger. This was precisely what Ms. Kardashian’s fiancé intended.

The same rep told E!News, “[Mr. West] wanted the diamond to look like it was floating on air.” During the months preceding his knock-out proposal, Mr. West spent a fair portion of his time working closely with designer Lorraine Schwartz to ensure that his lady love and muse would have the most over-the-top engagement ring on the field. “He had a vision,” said the jewelry designer’s rep. “He looked at a lot of stones and he wanted only the best.”

You can’t get much better than a Flawless D diamond! The cushion-cut stone is Kimberley registered, ensuring that all measures possible were taken to confirm that the diamond was never used to finance rebel movements. The rep further expressed that the stone was ethical, though it is unclear whether this means it was ethically mined, or whether it simply refers to its registration with the Kimberley Process.

Us Magazine reports that Lorraine was honored to work closely with Kanye to design Kim’s ring. They report, “Lorraine was happy that Kanye asked her to create the ring with him. Kim and Lorraine are dear friends.”

What a boon for Kim to have such a friend as Lorraine Schwartz. Hailed as a trendsetter and a world-renowned jewelry designer, Lorraine Schwartz designs are seen frequently on the red carpets, adorning such celebrities as Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, and Elizabeth Taylor.

Her style, like many of her favorite clients, is bold and ethereal, but taste alone is not enough. According to the staff at Gallery Atlantic, Ms. Schwartz asserts that quality craftsmanship must be paired with excellent taste for success in the business of jewelry. We could not agree more.

Jennifer Aniston’s Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Jennifer Aniston's Stunning 8-carat Engagement Ring with this 7-Carat Asscher Cut Diamond  Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Jennifer Aniston’s Stunning 8-carat Engagement Ring with this 7-Carat Asscher Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Jennifer Aniston’s engagement ring has garnered much attention.  In keeping with her usual habit, Ms. Aniston has kept much about her relationship with Justin Theroux out of the limelight. This includes details about the gorgeous rock she wears on her left ring finger. Though we may never know the intimate details, we can draw a few conclusions of our own based on the photos we’ve seen around the Web.

The ring may be engraved on the inside of the band or beneath the diamond. However, given its simple and straightforward lines, it does not appear to be a custom-designed ring in the truest sense of that term. The diamond is reported by a number of sources to be 8 carats, though it could be a bit more or less. There appears to be little doubt that the diamond is a natural white diamond, given its blinding splendor in broad daylight. Some reports claim the stone is rose cut, but given it’s definite rectangular shape (as opposed to round), it is more likely a cushion-cut diamond.

One crystal-clear photo of Ms. Anniston’s engagement ring was captured during one of her many red carpet appearances. In the photo, the diamond is clearly set with four dainty prongs on a classic yellow gold band. This very classic style suits Ms. Aniston very well, though the size of the ring seems to have surprised many of the star’s followers.

Rumor has it that the couple became engaged on Justin’s 41st birthday, August 10, 2012. Although a casual search on Google ensures a feast of photos and madcap stories about secret beach weddings and wedding gown details, the couple has yet to set a wedding date. Though they have yet to comment on their reasons for waiting, a brief look at their IMDB bios shows the two have been working a lot over the past couple of years.

Angelina Jolie Wears an Exceptional Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Exceptional Craftsmanship with this Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Exceptional Craftsmanship with this Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

An intimate wedding took place in France on August 23, 2014, though a few of the couple’s most tender moments were displayed for all to see in September issues of People and Hello! magazines. A veil decorated with the art of their children, a kiss to send you to the moon, and a beautiful story of love, laughter, and the antics of children.

It was the wedding of one of Hollywood’s most celebrated couples, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The exclusive stories written in People and Hello! offer a peek-a-boo view into many of the wedding details, including the dress, the veil, the cake, and the ties.

However, they offer only a hint about the couple’s wedding rings. All we know is that they were made by the couple’s favorite jewelry designer, Robert Procop, who creates truly exceptional jewels, just as his website declares.

A bit more is known about Angelina’s exceptional engagement ring, which was designed by Brad Pitt and executed by Robert Procop. A series of graduated emerald-cut diamonds pave the band, with one central emerald-cut diamond weighing an estimated 7 carats.

In a statement released in 2012, Robert Procop wrote, “The side diamonds are specially cut to encircle her finger.”

One could call Mr. Procop a tailor for rings, at least for the Jolie-Pitt family. He has worked closely with Angelina to design jewels for her role in Malificent, as well as a whole collection of pieces inspired by personal jewels worn by the actress and also those given as gifts to her now-husband, Brad Pitt. The proceeds from all of the jewels sold by Robert Procop in partnership with Angelina Jolie are donated to charities for children.

There has been speculation that Ms. Jolie’s ring is fashioned from platinum and that they’re wedding bands are also fashioned from platinum. However, based on a survey of the jewels created by Robert Procop and the descriptions given for these jewels, especially those in the Tablet Collection, it would be this writer’s estimation that the rings they wear are fashioned from 18k rose gold.

Without doubt, the two very grounded, very sentimental actors have laced these most treasured jewels in their personal collections with meaning and engraved messages that only they and their intimates will understand. The weight of history in their rings reminds this writer of the power of jewelry to preserve history even as it is in the making.

Kurt Russell Gives Goldie Hawn a Designer Diamond Ring

Capture the Essence! of Goldie Hawn's Designer Eternity Band with this Vendoro Diamond and Yellow Gold Cocktail Eternity Band. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Goldie Hawn’s Designer Eternity Band with this Vendoro Diamond-Encrusted Yellow Gold Cocktail Eternity Band. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

This past January, Kurt Russell picked up a very special diamond ring from celebrity jewelry designer Violette par Larme Violette. According to Diana Cooper of Closer Weekly, the celebrated actor picked it out during the Sundance Film Festival from French celebrity design firm Violette par Larme Violette.

The ring is a stunning piece set in silver with the firm’s signature White V diamonds. Consisting of layer upon layer of twisting metal studded with diamonds, the ring is named Eternity, symbolic of faith and eternal love. The makers of this ring declare it carries with it the enduring message, “Together forever, our path will never end.”

This will likely be the closest thing Goldie Hawn wears to an engagement ring or wedding band. For 31 years the actors have been life partners, living, working, and raising children together, but they have not gotten married and will likely keep it that way. Mr. Russell chose the ring as a Valentine’s Day gift for his sweetheart. After 31 years of a good thing, it seems indeed their partnership will continue into eternity. May it be so!

Kate Hudson Wears an Emerald-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Kate Hudson's Timeless Classic with this Vintage 1.3-Carat Emerald-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring with Tapered Baguette Diamonds. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Kate Hudson’s Timeless Classic with this Vintage 1.3-Carat Emerald-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring with Tapered Baguette Diamonds. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

There are few diamond cuts as timeless as the emerald cut. Its origins date back to the 1400s, though the modern emerald cut wasn’t standardized until the late 1930s. Right alongside the cushion cut, it is the favored cut among royalty, and its unusually large table facet and deep pavilion draw the light and the eye into its core without effort, eliciting a dazzling intensity that goes beyond words.

Though we might have expected something more avante-garde from the celebrated actress Kate Hudson, we certainly can’t fault the star for having exquisite taste. In 2011,  during what she told Today Show host Matt Lauer was a “very sweet” and “very romantic” proposal, Matthew Bellamy, frontman for the English rock band Muse, gave her this stunning platinum engagement ring.

The central diamond is an astonishing 8-to-9-carat emerald-cut diamond with two tapered baguette diamonds flanking it on either side. It is simple, elegant, and absolutely gorgeous! Though the couple separated for a spell in the past year, they reconciled this spring.

They do not seem to be in a hurry to tie the knot. Citing a busy schedule and a non-traditional upbringing, Ms. Hudson has said that if she’s going to do it she wants to do it right, and that will require more planning than she’s had time for with a busy toddler and a full filming schedule. Meanwhile, she continues to share glimpses of her stunning engagement ring for all of us to enjoy!

Rita Wilson Wears a Gumuchian ‘Captiva’ Wedding Band

Capture the Essence! of Rita Wilson's Engagement Ring with this Gorgeous Natural Padparadscha Sapphire Engagement Ring with Triangle Cut Diamonds. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Rita Wilson’s Engagement Ring with this Gorgeous Natural Padparadscha Sapphire Engagement Ring with Triangle Cut Diamonds. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

One of Hollywood’s most enduring couples, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, reportedly began their 27-year romance without an engagement ring {cited}. While this tidbit remains a rumor, it does seem that Rita Wilson has added to her bridal collection fairly recently. On their Facebook page, the celebrated jewelry firm Gumuchian relates that a little over 10 years ago, Ms. Wilson purchased one of their ‘Captiva’ wedding bands. This would have been close to 12 years after the couple said their vows.

According to their website, Gumuchian lays claim to pioneering the practice of setting diamonds on the side of the bands, the trademark of the ‘Captiva’ collection. Rita Wilson does indeed wear a beautiful diamond-studded band, alongside two thinner stackable bands micro-paved in diamonds, and what is clearly a diamond engagement ring.

Her engagement ring features a beautiful emerald- or cushion-cut diamond flanked by two triangular diamonds on a platinum or white gold band. Elegant and understated, just as we would expect from such a classy lady. Details on when and how Tom Hanks proposed do not seem to be forthcoming, so all there is left to say is thank you to one of Hollywood’s most happily married couples. You are an inspiration to us all!

Erica Mena Wears a Beautiful Halo Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Erica Mena's Halo Engagement Ring with this GIA-Certified 1.15-Carat Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Erica Mena’s Halo Engagement Ring with this GIA-Certified 1.15-Carat Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Erica Mena currently stars in VH1’s ‘Love and Hip Hop New York’, though she got her first break in the industry by winning a J-Lo look-alike contest, according to IMDB. This month, she’s in the news again, having announced her engagement to Shad Moss (‘Bow Wow’) on the red carpet at the Hip-Hop BET Awards on September 20, 2014.

According to US Weekly, Shad Moss confirmed the news on Instagram with a photo of their matching engagement bling. His is a gorgeous diamond-studded Rolex watch, and hers is a dazzling diamond halo engagement ring.

The purple light cast in the photo makes the central stone appear to be an amethyst, but this is just a lighting effect. In other photos, it is crystal clear that her dazzling round stone is a brilliant cut white diamond, surrounded by a circular halo of smaller white diamonds, mounted atop a split-shank band, which is also studded in diamonds.

According to tweets, the rapper/actor worked closely with Elliot Avianne of Avianne Jewelers to create the beautiful halo engagement ring. The New York-based jewelry firm custom designs high-end jewels for a number of celebrity hip-hop stars, as well as for industry models. They most recently designed Ciara’s 15-carat emerald-cut diamond ring.

Vanessa Williams is Engaged

Vanessa Williams' Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 BOMI Grelick Corporation. Photo used with permission.

Vanessa Williams’ Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 BOMI Grelick Corporation. Photo used with permission.

Former Miss America Vanessa Williams was recently interviewed on The Queen Latifah Show, wearing her dazzling diamond engagement ring. Queen Latifah interrupted her interview to point out that the sparkle from the actress’s ring was befuddling her just a bit. It was precious to see Ms. Williams shrug and grin like a schoolgirl as she officially announced her engagement to New York businessman, Jim Skrip.

The couple met in Egypt, though Mr. Skrip is a New Yorker through and through. Mr. Skrip did his girl justice with that spectacular ring. Her Facebook page offers the best view of the ring, and no wonder Queen Latifah was so distracted!

The ring was custome made for Ms. Williams by Bomi Jewelers of Buffalo, New York. The central stone is a beautiful cushion cut diamond surrounded by a hexagonal halo set with 20 round brilliant diamonds. In true Art Deco fashion, two half-moon diamonds flank the central halo atop the broad shoulders of the ring, giving the ring a beautiful architectural appearance.

The wide band is lined with prong-set round brilliant diamonds, as well. The sparkle on this ring must indeed be overwhelming! Bomi Jewelers offered a glimpse of the underside of the ring, and a lower tier of platinum lined with diamonds has a stylized lotus flower carved into it, just one example of the “thoughtful and romantic” touches Mr. Skrip included in the design of his fiance’s ring.

Bomi confirms that the lotus flower on the underside of the ring is symbolic of the couple’s meeting in Egypt. Out of respect for their clients, Bomi is keeping carat weight and price confidential, but they are proudly displaying their exquisite craftsmanship on their Facebook page, and Ms. Williams has tagged them in her post, as well.

According to Bomi’s Facebook page, they were given permission to reveal the ring on September 26, 2014. “One of the hardest parts of this job was keeping the secret. We were all busting at the seams,” reads their post on September 27, 2014. When asked how they “landed the job,” Bomi replied that Mr. Skrip’s brother has been a client for a number of years.

Kudos to Bomi Jewelers for a job well done, and kudos to Mr. Skrip for keeping it local!