Birthstone Jewelry: Opal is the Birthstone of October

There’s nothing like the flash of opal, whose myriad colors are due to the gem’s stacked silica deposits, according to the GIA. Opal is actually the byproduct of rains that drench the parched earth in places like Australia’s Outback.

When the rainwater soaks into the ground, silica dissolves and forms opal after most of the water evaporates. Fine jewelers will recognize a variety of different types—including black, fire, Boulder, white, and more—all of which have become highly prized and sought-after stones in recent years. New finds in Ethiopia have drawn more attention to the gem, but by far the most important factor in opal’s current popularity is the amount of talented designers who place its playful range of color into stunning settings that let the beauty of the stone stand out.

Barse opal necklace in bronze

Necklace in bronze with African opal, $298; Barse

Ring with opal, tanzanite and diamonds by United Gemco

Ring in 18k gold and silver with 9.50 cts. t.w. tanzanite, 1.65 cts. t.w. opal, and 1.42 cts. t.w. diamonds, $1,599; United Gemco

Earrings in 14k gold with fire and Ethiopian opal by Zaiken

Earrings in 14k yellow gold with 16 cts. t.w. aquamarine, 13 cts. t.w. fire opal, and 9 cts. t.w. Ethiopian opal, $2,125; Zaiken


Amali Peruvian opal necklace

Pendant necklace in 18k gold with 7.6 cts. t.w. Peruvian opal and 1.15 cts. t.w. diamonds woven into the chain, $2,900; Amáli

Opal and tanzanite earrings by Stephanie Albertson

Earrings in 22k gold with 18 cts. t.w. tanzanite and 9.5 cts. t.w. Ethiopian opal, $5,720; Stephanie Albertson

Ring in 18k gold with opal and diamonds by Suzy Landa

Firecracker ring in 18k yellow gold with 7.15 ct. t.w. marquise-shaped Australian opal with 0.28 ct. t.w. diamonds, $6,820; Suzy Landa

Mimi So bracelet with opal, aquamarine, and amethyst

ZoZo bracelet in 18k gold with 7.86 cts. t.w. amethyst, 5.42 cts. t.w. opal, and 1.40 cts. t.w. aquamarine, $9,400; Mimi So

Patrick Mohs Koroit opal necklace

Necklace in 18k gold with 61.50 ct. t.w. Koroit (Australian) opal, 0.06 ct. t.w. tsavorite, and 0.03 ct. t.w. diamonds, $12,000; Patrick Mohs

Earrings with opal by Colette

Earrings inspired by Botswana’s Okavango Delta from the Africa collection in 18k blackened gold with 1.7 cts. t.w. diamonds, opal, green tourmaline, and zircon, $12,150; Colette

Earrings with Australian and Andean opal by Mauro Felter

Earrings in 18k rose and white gold with 27.20 cts. t.w. Australian boulder opals, 16.32 cts. t.w. Andean opals, 0.80 cts. t.w. brilliant-cut diamonds, $23,600; Mauro Felter

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