Category Archives: Fine Jewelry News

Zoe Saldana’s Engagement Ring Details

Capture the Essence! of Zoe Saldana's engagement ring with this 2-Carat Emerald Engagement Ring with Diamond Accents. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Zoe Saldana’s engagement ring with this 2-Carat Emerald Engagement Ring with Diamond Accents. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Zoe Saldana’s engagement ring is a gorgeous pear-shaped emerald surrounded by a micro halo of tiny diamonds. Abutting the central stone on either side are two trilliant-cut diamonds, also surrounded by a rim of tiny diamonds, with the points facing down the diamond-encrusted band.

This unique ring is now accompanied by a simple gold wedding band. Both were gifts from her now-husband, artist Marco Perego. Ms. Saldana’s engagement ring was first seen in public on the red carpet at the LACMA Art and Film Gala on November 2, 2013.

This presentation came three months after her secret wedding to the Italian artist. Details about the wedding and the engagement remain under wraps, though speculation circulates that the central cabochon emerald is between 6 and 10 carats and that the trillion diamonds weigh between 0.75 and 1 carat each.

Zoe now holds court in the elite group of celebs who have chosen emerald green as their signature color. This group includes American royals Jackie O and Halle Berry.

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Sarah Michelle Gellar's engagement ring with this Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s engagement ring with this Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Fairy tale romance is alive and well, marked by Sarah Michelle Gellar’s engagement ring and her beautiful life with Freddie Prinz, Jr. The couple met on the set of I Know What You Did Last Summer in 1997. A four-year friendship blossomed into deeper love, and the two became betrothed in 2001.

An Ethereal Cathy Waterman Creation

Ms. Gellar’s engagement ring is an ethereal creation by famed Hollywood designer Cathy Waterman. True to style, Ms. Waterman fashioned a fantastical ring of platinum and diamonds. The central stone is reported to be a princess cut diamond mounted in place by four ornate prongs set with uniquely shaped diamonds. The band is channel-set all the way around with small round brilliant diamonds.

Rumor has it that Ms. Gellar said in an interview the stone is held in place by a pair of dragonflies. These delicate creatures are not clearly visible in the photos of Ms. Gellar’s engagement ring, but there is very little doubt that Ms. Waterman could conceive of such beautiful pedestals for that gorgeous rock.

Do Dragonflies Hold Her Diamond in Place?

The dragonflies are reminiscent of the two purple dragonflies she has tattooed on her lower back. She told Movieline that “the dragonflies are something Freddie and I share, our love of dragons and dragonflies.”

Cathy Waterman has made other dragonfly gems for the beautiful actress. In June 2002, Sarah Michelle Gellar wore dragonfly earrings on the cover of In Style magazine made by the esteemed designer.

And on September 1, 2002, the couple said ‘I do’ and exchanged a pair of Cathy Waterman wedding bands in matching platinum. Ms. Gellar’s band is intricately carved in a diamond-set floral motif.

Sushi and Board Games Are Staples

This is all we get in terms of details about Ms. Gellar’s engagement ring. But the starlet has given some details about the beginnings of their romance, which apparently included sushi, something they continue to share with passionate devotion.

“I’m still learning how to talk about this because I’ve never had a relationship that’s public before,” she told Movieline.

What sets Freddie apart from the others? “He balances me. We’re both homebodies. We love to have our friends over. We love board games–we’ll play them until three in the morning,” she said.

After 12 years of living the homebody life, which balances out their hectic filming schedules, the couple appear to be happier than ever. “They’re on the same channel,” Cathy Waterman told People of the couple.

Ms. Gellar confirmed this sentiment in an interview with Access Hollywood, “It’s easy…he’s my best friend, and the communication is always there, and we support each other no matter what.”

Camila Alves’ Engagement Ring Details

 

Capture the Essence! of Camila Alves' Engagement Ring with this Ethereal 5.5-Carat Asscher Cut Light Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Camila Alves’ Engagement Ring with this Ethereal 5.5-Carat Asscher Cut Light Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Wrapped in a small box within a box, within a box, within, yes, seven boxes, was Camila Alves’ engagement ring from superstar Matthew McConaughey. It was Christmas Day 2011, and a public announcement was made with a smoochy photo posted on Twitter by Mr. McConaughey himself.

“She got the ring, I took a knee and asked her to marry me and take my name,” the starstruck star told People. So long as she had to wait for (and work for) her gift, she apparently decided he could wait for his answer, as well.

“After a bit, she conceded…thankfully,” he recounted.

Ms. Alves’ engagement ring was made by designer Cathy Waterman, whose imaginative creations have captured the attention of Hollywood’s most ethereal beauties.

It features a large rose cut diamond set fairly openly in a delicate prong setting with intricate design features. The band is gorgeous, and is likely made of platinum*. It features two sprays of diamond-set flowers ‘growing’ toward the central stone.

On June 9, 2012, Ms. Alves added a pair of wedding bands (likely made of silver**). Both are flecked with tiny diamonds in varying sizes. The one she wears nearest to her engagement ring is etched with ‘XOXO’, a message assumed to be the universal symbol for ‘hugs and kisses’.

The following Monday, Matthew McConaughey was captured in his sweat suit sporting his brand new wedding ring. A close-up shot of the gold ring, taken at the opening of the movie Magic Mike, demonstrates a wide band with a curious inscription: “6.22”.

According to Mr. McConaughey, the numbers refer to both a significant time and a significant passage from the Bible.  In 2008, he reportedly told OK! magazine that their son, Levi, was born at 6:22pm, a time which “represents my favorite verse in the book of Matthew in the Bible: ‘If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be full of light.'”

In 2013, the star posted a photo of the time 6:22, and wrote “keep the eye high.” He uses it for a motto, wears it on his finger, and holds it in his heart. It seems to have served him well in life and love.

The wedding bands were reportedly made by Kathy Rose, known for her unconventional jewels, described on her website as “enriched with hints of historical, ancestral, architectural and cultural influences.” Sounds perfect for the down-home Texas boy who has captured the heart of America with his laid-back, homegrown style.

*The majority of Cathy Waterman’s jewels are made from platinum and 22k gold.
**Kathy Rose typically works with silver and white gold.

Anna Paquin’s Engagement Ring Details

Capture the Essence! of Anna Paquin's engagement ring with this Bezel-Set Old Euro Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Anna Paquin’s engagement ring with this Bezel-Set Old Euro Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Stephen Moyer proposed to his True Blood co-star Anna Paquin in 2009. In a spontaneous interview captured by a paparazzi while the on their way somewhere, Anna and Stephen reveal some surprising details about Ms. Paquin’s engagement ring.

The road noise makes it hard to hear her answer, but it sounds like Ms. Paquin tells the interviewer that her center stone is 5 carats!! When asked what inspired the ring, she gives the floor to Stephen. “It’s Gothic, interesting, and not the normal…and it’s not a moonstone,” he said with emphasis.

It’s Not A Moonstone

Yes, we can confirm that center stone is no moonstone, despite the circulating rumors. Though it is yet to be substantiated, we believe the central gem in this gorgeous Gothic engagement ring is a rough-cut diamond. It is set within a beautiful setting made from blackened platinum.

The diamond is prong-set with a cluster of smaller diamonds mounted on either side of the stone. These accent stones appear to be set into a floral design which reaches to cup the diamond. The solid blackened band curves around her finger gently. Beside it Ms. Paquin wears a matching wedding band comprised of a series of tiny round diamonds set in blacked platinum connected by teeny-tiny accent diamonds.

Storybook Designer Cathy Waterman

Rumor has it that the storybook designer Cathy Waterman, who has adorned many starlets both on and off screen, is the designer who hand-hewed Ms. Paquin’s engagement ring.

Ms. Waterman’s gorgeous creations are indeed out of a fantasy tale, and her story of their creation is no less fantastical.

“I believe the beauty in my work is a direct result of trying to create objects equal to these winged creatures of mine,” the designer says, speaking of her beloved children {cited}.

“I see jewels in puddles…and in the reflection of a cloud. They appear to me all finished. And I find that it’s often what I don’t see that inspires me most: I’ll walk down a lane entranced by the silhouette of a bird on a bough only to find that there is no bird…and often no bough. So the vision is purely mine and I can make of it what I will” {cited}.

In addition to designing Anna Paquin’s engagement ring, Cathy Waterman also created the jewels worn by Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman.

She has also made beautiful jewels for classic red carpet walkers, Julia Roberts, Demi Moore, Vanessa Hudgens, and Laura Linney. The LA Times writes, “In a town full of loud bling, Cathy Waterman’s jewelry stands out for its nonagressive beauty.”

Ms. Paquin’s engagement ring is certainly nonagressive in its beauty, even with its Gothic undertones.

Olivia Wilde’s Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Olivia Wilde's Vintage 1920s engagement ring with this Vintage Diamond Engagement Ring with Authentic Art Deco green glass accents. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Olivia Wilde’s Vintage 1920s engagement ring with this Vintage Diamond Engagement Ring with Authentic Art Deco green glass accents. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Olivia Wilde’s engagement ring made a big splash when she first stepped out with it in early 2013. She and actor Jason Sudeikis confirmed their engagement to the media on January 12, 2013.

People‘s First Capture

 

On January 15, 2013, People captured shots of the ring, which Olivia offered coyly while on the set of The Third Person in Rome, Italy.

Those early shots were so blurry, but People went ahead and made a guess that the ring featured “a large, elevated brilliant-cut diamond.” They did learn one detail from Ms. Wilde’s rep. They wrote, “…the bauble is an antique.”

It is hard to discern whether they meant that the entire ring is antique, or if one of the stones is an antique.

At Second Glance

 

Our next glimpse of her ring came in the form of, again, blurry pictures at a Knicks game the following month. The shots from the game were still too far away to get a clear look at the ring.

It was definitely round, and there was more than a hint that People got it wrong on their first guess. With a mild hint of color and a sense of more than one stone in the ring, it was becoming evident that we might have a unique style to ogle over.

Third Time’s A Charm

In March 2013, two sources confirmed that Ms. Wilde’s engagement ring actually features a round diamond surrounded by a halo of emeralds. It turns out that the actress went fairly unconventional on all counts–a small diamond, emerald accent stones, and yellow gold (as opposed to the far more popular platinum or white gold).

This is about all we got, until Ms. Wilde made her big reveal to Lucky magazine, posted online in May of 2014. In addition to opening up about being someone’s ‘hall pass’,  activism, and the perks of pregnancy, Olivia also shared the scoop on her engagement ring.

The Big Reveal

By her own report, Ms. Wilde’s engagement ring is a vintage ring with a story that placed it in Paris around 1921. “I love imagining the story of this ring. Who had it?” said the actress as she turned it ’round and ’round on her finger.

“Jason said it reminded him of my eyes, which is very sweet,” she said of the slightly aqua-colored emeralds surrounding the central diamond.

One Last Luscious Tidbit

We received one last luscious tidbit after Jennifer Aniston spilled some beans to Alicia Quarles of E!Online. “Somebody helped [Jason] on the ring, in fact,” she said. “Not me, but my fiance did…He just guided him in the right direction.”

And there you have it! Straight from the mouth of a fellow Hollywood superstar, Justin Theroux helped guide Jason Sudeikis to find the perfect ring for his bride-to-be.

How would you like to have some celebrity advice when you’re set to pick out your girl’s ring? Would your sweetheart like a vintage ring like Olivia Wilde’s engagement ring?

Citrine: What’s in a Name?

Capture the Essence! of Madeira Wine with this Seidengang Madeira Citrine Cocktail Ring in 18k Gold. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Madeira Wine with this Seidengang Madeira Citrine Cocktail Ring in 18k Gold. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Citrine has a warmth reminiscent of sunshine and has long been considered a stone of the sun. However, it’s name does not necessarily reflect this connection.

‘Citron’–A Lemon?

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), citrine derives its name from the French word citron, which means “lemon.” Natural untreated citrine is often a pale yellowish color. However, it rarely matches a true lemon yellow, leaning more toward a light honey or smoky gold.

These naturally-colored citrine specimens are becoming rarer. Today, much of the new citrine on the market is heat treated right at the mines {2}. This has become a widely acceptable practice, which often results in a yellow with reddish undertones. According to GemSelect, the effects of this heat treatment are considered permanent and stable.

Madeira Citrine

While citrines are rarely lemon yellow, there is one special citrine whose name perfectly captures its essence and hue–Madeira citrine. On the islands of Medeira, Portugal, near the Canary Islands, a unique practice of winemaking has been perfected for well over 500 years.

The wines in Madeira are made after the fashion of a long boat ride. One forsaken shipment of wine made the full journey through the trade routes and back to its port of origin in Madeira. Upon its discovery in the ship, winemakers realized that exposure to heat on the constantly moving ship completely changed the flavor of the wine.

 

Once these artisans discovered the reason for the wine’s transformation, they engineered a way to simulate the process on land. Today, the simplest method is to fill a large stainless steel container with the wine. A system of pipes that pass through the container will circulate hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit) through the wine for three months {4}.

In another method, casks of wine are taken to a rooftop and left beneath the beating rays of the sun for several months. This method, called the Canteiro method, is reported to produce the best Madeira wines {4}.

The birth of this new wine put the region on the map, and the Madeira wines, known the world over for their “profound complexity, crisp acidity and marvelous richness on the palate” {5}, also happen to be a rich, smoky red-hued brown in color, just like the citrine that is believed to be named after them.

Brazilian Wood?

While this connection to Madeira wines seems to be the most commonly held theory of the origins of the stone’s name, some believe Madeira citrine is actually named after a Brazilian word meaning ‘wood’ or ‘wood-colored’. This makes some sense, since most of the world’s most beautiful citrines come from Brazil’s southern tip. However, it is not the most romantic of theories.

Wherever it derives its name, don’t you think the Madeira citrine is stunning?

Notes
  1. “Citrine: November’s Sunny Birthstone,” GIA 4Cs Blog, November 1, 2013. http://4csblog.gia.edu/2013/citrine-novembers-sunny-birthstone.
  2. GemSelect. “Citrine Gemstone Information.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.gemselect.com/gem-info/citrine/citrine-info.
  3. International Colored Gemstone Association. “Citrine.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.gemstone.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=104:sapphire&catid=1:gem-by-gem&Itemid=14.
  4. Madeira Wine Guide. “The Making of Madeira Wine.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.madeirawineguide.com/2006/05/the_making_of_madeira_wine.html.
  5. The Rare Wine Co. “Historic Series Madeira.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.rarewineco.com/rare-wine-co-historic-series-madeira/.

November’s Birthstones: Topaz & Citrine

Capture the Warmth! of November's Birthstone Citrine with this Hand-Carved Citrine and Diamond Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Warmth! of November’s Birthstone Citrine with this Hand-Carved Citrine and Diamond Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

November’s birthstones are a warm welcome as the days grow shorter and the nights take on the chill air of autumn. Although yellow topaz is the gemstone most commonly cited as November’s birthstone, the Gemological Institute of America notes that Citrine is a recognized alternate.  Both come in the warm hues of sunshine and summer citrus; however, they have very distinctive chemical properties.

Chemical Properties

Yellow topaz is what is known in mineralogy as a fluorosilicate, meaning that they are comprised of aluminum, fluoride, silicon, and oxygen. Topaz derives its color from intrusion of trace elements in their crystal structure. It can be found in colors ranging from red to pink and purple, from yellow to orange and brown, and from blue to green. Blue topaz is the birthstone for December.

Citrine, on the other hand, is a member of the vast quartz family. Closely related to amethyst, natural citrine has been thought to be amethyst that has been exposed to the intense heat of molten lava. As quartz rises in temperature, the iron within its crystal structure oxidizes (kind of like evaporating), resulting in variations of color. The less iron, the warmer the hues become. Citrine can range in color from pale yellow to golden or from golden orange to rich gold-brown {gemselect}.

Presence in Tin and Bronze Mines

It is quite possible that both of November’s birthstones were found simultaneously in the tin and bronze mines which were actively sourced as early as 3300 BC in Palestine. Other bronze and tin mines became active in Egypt (2700 BC), in Central Europe (2200 BC), and in Northern Europe (1800 BC) {Zontrum}.

According to the Wiener Edelstein Zontrum gemstone dictionary, it would have been nearly impossible for these early miners to miss the bright sunshine-colored stones in their mines. Because citrine and topaz have long been confused for one another, it would be impossible to determine which stone was found first and in which locations.

Popular Cuts

November’s birthstones can be cut in nearly ever shape imaginable. Citrines are most commonly cut as round brilliants or ovals, though they are often cut in fancy cuts or step cuts. Topaz, with its naturally elongated crystal structure, is often pear cut, emerald cut, or oval cut.

Both topaz and citrine can be carved, which you see in this gorgeous hand-carved citrine and diamond cocktail ring. This ring is fashioned from 18k yellow gold, which provides the perfect complement to the golden warmth of the citrines.

Notes
  1. About Birthstones. “November Birthstone.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.about-birthstones.com/novemberbirthstone.html.
  2. “All About Birthstones: Topaz for November.” GIA 4Cs Blog, November 1, 2012. http://4csblog.gia.edu/2012/all-about-birthstones-november-topaz.
  3. Bernardine Fine Art Jewelry. “Topaz Facts, Information and Description.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.bernardine.com/gemstones/topaz.htm.
  4. “Citrine: November’s Sunny Birthstone,” GIA 4Cs Blog, November 1, 2013. http://4csblog.gia.edu/2013/citrine-novembers-sunny-birthstone.
  5. Gem Select. “Citrine Gemstone Information.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.gemselect.com/gem-info/citrine/citrine-info.php.
  6.  Gemstone Education. “The History and Origin of Topaz.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.gemstoneeducation.com/Topaz.htm
  7.  Wiener Edelstein Zentrum. “Topaz,” Gemstone Dictionary. Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.edelsteine.at/dictionary/topas/.

Miranda Lambert’s Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Miranda Lambert's Engagement Ring with this 2-Carat Three-Stone Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Miranda Lambert’s Engagement Ring with this 2-Carat Three-Stone Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

According to Taste of Country, “Just because Miranda Lambert likes to hunt and fish and tend to her farm animals doesn’t mean she wasn’t expecting a big ol’ rock on her left hand” {cited}. To ensure that Miranda would not be disappointed, her fiance, Blake Shelton, turned to Beverly Hills design team Newman and Johnathon Arndt to fashion her beautiful ring.

Named ‘Eternity Ring’ by the designers, her gorgeous platinum and diamond ring features a round diamond set with ornate platinum prongs. Beside the diamond rest two smaller round diamonds, also set with the same fancy prongs. This stunning crown rests atop a platinum band which is channel set on all sides with round brilliant diamonds.

Miranda and Blake were so thrilled with the engagement ring that they relied on Newman and Johnathon Arndt to design their wedding bands, as well. The team further designed all of Miranda’s bridal jewelry. Walking down the aisle, Miranda wore a three-tier diamond necklace boasting over 30 carats in brilliant white diamonds and a pair of Victorian diamond teardrop earrings. For her reception, Miranda chose to wear what must have been a stunning cocktail ring featuring over 60 carats of fancy multi-colored sapphires set in 18k black gold. Without a photo of this ring it’s hard to describe it, but it is reported to belong to the Arndt’s  2011 Bombay collection.

Her wedding band is a 5-carat white diamond eternity band which looks absolutely gorgeous with her three-stone diamond engagement ring. While typically the bride’s rings take center stage, in this case the ring that Newman and Johnathon designed for Blake Shelton is well worth our full attention. Fashioned out of platinum, the entire band is etched with a unique design.

At a glance, it looks like barbed wire. However, upon closer inspection it reveals what appears to be two traditional Christian symbols. A series of interconnected ichthys is superimposed with etched barbs. Otherwise known as the Jesus fish, the ichthys is one of the most iconic symbols of Christianity. And the barbs? It is quite possible these represent the crown of thorns Jesus was forced to wear on the day of his crucifixion.

The jewelry designers first created a sketch of the singer’s tattoo. They then spent 60 hours hand engraving the final piece and ensuring that all the custom touches requested by the bride-to-be were included. One such detail is the black diamond which is reportedly mounted on the inside of the wedding band. Altogether, the Arndt’s put together a dazzling ensemble for these country music darlings.

Carrie Underwood’s Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Yellow Diamonds with this Fancy Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Carrie Underwood’s Engagement Ring with this Fancy Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

According to Us Weekly, Carrie Underwood’s engagement ring was a surprise from hockey player Mike Fisher. The country music star believes her sweet guy took notice of all her Johnathon Arndt jewelry boxes and “somehow managed to call him up and sneak around and make me a ring!”

No small feat, considering the Beverly Hills designer is available by invitation only!

Details on Carrie’s ring are few and far between, though Johnathon Arndt did confirm that the central stone is a flawless canary yellow diamond. The beautiful stone is quite large, though any guesses to its actual carat weight would be mere speculation. It is surrounded by a halo of white diamonds set in relief atop a diamond-studded band with an echoing halo that sits in shadow just beneath the ring’s head.

In addition to designing Ms. Underwood’s engagement ring, Johnathon Arndt also designed the couple’s wedding bands and Carrie’s wedding jewelry. Mike Fisher purchased a custom-made diamond tiara made by the designer. He presented this gorgeous gift to his wife in time for her wear it as she walked down the aisle. Exquisite in design, the Victorian-style circlet features flowers and vines decorated in over 40 carats in diamonds set in 18k white gold.

The couple also turned to Johnathon Arndt for the design of their wedding bands. Carrie’s features princess and round diamonds, while Mike’s is a “masculine band” with “hidden diamonds,” as requested by Carrie {cited}.

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.

Notes

  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.