Oregon Peach Opal
Featuring a cheery, peachy blush, Oregon peach opal is a rare stone, only found in the United States.
The word opals typically conjure images of black or white stones, sparkling with a captivating play of color as fire dances across its surface. Many are stunned to learn, however, that opals are found in an amazing variety of colors!
Oregon Peach Opal Color
Oregon peach opal represents one of these rare and unusual color varieties. The pink material is swirled with peachy tones evocative of freshly scooped sherbet. This peach opal is what's known as a 'common opal.' However, don't let that name deceive you, as any opal is anything but! It's simply a term to differentiate opals that possess the characteristic play of color from those that don't. Instead, these stones possess a captivating and intense body color, making them beautiful in their own right. Stones are not treated in any known way.
Other Peach Opal Quality Factors
These opals are opaque and are shaped into cabochons. Occasionally, the rare specimen will be faceted. Peach opal ranks 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, with a fair toughness, making them susceptible to scratching or breaking, so exercise caution when wearing opal jewelry. As with all similar stones, Oregon peach opals are vulnerable to high heat and chemicals, and jewelry should not be exposed to either. They can be cleaned with warm, soapy water. Opal gemstones require the moisture found in air to stay in good shape. Avoid storing them in airtight containers.
Oregon Peach Opal Birthstone
• Since the early 20th century, opals have been considered a birthstone in the United States and the United Kingdom. In fact, opals have a history of being connected to this month as a birthstone since at least the early 1400s. American mineralogist G.F. Kunz once remarked how opal exemplifies October and displays the contrasting colors of autumn in its possible color combinations. Peach opal contributes to this tradition, the gem showing color like a changing leaf in fall.
• Many gems are represented in the tropical zodiac. Opal, however, is not associated with any star sign.
Are Opals Unlucky?
• In modern times, opals have often been considered to be an unlucky stone. You may have even heard the adage suggesting only to wear an opal if it's your birthstone. In antiquity, however, opals were one of the most coveted stones around. In ancient beliefs, gemstones were identified by their color, and opals, with their play of color, were frequently considered to possess the power of all other gems. So, what changed?
• Most experts agree on a combination of two factors. Firstly, by the nineteenth century, consumers held jewelers to greater responsibility for damaged goods, and the often-fragile opal could be difficult to work with, lending it an air of misfortune.
• Secondly, a famous story from the same era featured a character under enchantment, whose well-being was represented by the changes of her opal jewelry. In this story, "Anne of Gerstein," the character Hermoine met an unfortunate end, and the opals associated with her acquired this same unlucky reputation.
• These tales are further plagued by real life instances of mishap from the period. Queen Victoria suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction during her coronation, later blamed on an opal fastening pin which became undone. And King Alphonso XII of Spain, along with his wife and other family members, all died after wearing an opal ring the kind had commissioned for his queen.
The Gem of Sight
• Many ancient cultures suggested that opal improved sight, or at times obscured a figure from being seen. In medieval lapidary texts, opals might sometimes be described as ophthalmius (literally "eye stone"), in recognition of this quality.
• Some stories told of opals clouding their bearers in a veil of fog, or causing them to vanish from sight altogether. Coupled with its presumed vision-enhancing attributes opals were also considered to be the patron stone of thieves.
Location: World Wide
Opals come in a surprising variety of colors and types, from locations the world over. Oregon peach opal comes from Lake County, Oregon, in the United States. Oregon peach opal is a new find and has not been offered nationally before. Shop LC is excited to be the first to bring this impressive stone to market.
How was Oregon Peach Opal Discovered?
This opal variety was first discovered while prospecting the hills of Lake County during the summer of 2016. An often-used mining technique is following the "float." Float are pieces of rock that break off from a larger formation, and through natural forces, like melting frost, moving downstream through rivers or glaciers. The family-run mining company that supplies Shop LC with our peach opal utilized this traditional technique as the float led them to this discovery! However, the process is mechanized these days. A machine sorts buckets of wash and agitates the material to separate important elements from waste. These geological clues give miners insight into how to proceed as they continue prospecting.
How is Peach Opal Mined?
Once a prospective mining site is found, test drilling will be performed to survey the area. The miners look for tell-tale signs of ground composition that indicate a cache of gem material might be present. In this case, the family found a rhyolite dome. Rhyolite is an ingenuous volcanic rock with a high amount of silica, the same mineral that makes up opals. Our vendor explained that just below the rhyolite, opal had been found. When rhyolite begins to cool, pockets of gas are typically left behind. Over time, these gasses can be replaced with other materials, including gems like opals. To make this find even more fortunate, they were finding high-quality rough only eight to ten feet under the ground! The vendor also explained that initial prospects looked good, and expected to find potentially more material in the future – possibly in new color varieties.
Processing Oregon Peach Opal
The mining family was able to work the deposit until the first snows began to hit the ground in Oregon. This gave them material to prepare for presentation to prospective retailers, like Shop LC. Since the area can experience rather severe winters, working the deposit would have to wait until spring, when the snows have melted and the ground thawed enough for their tools to be employed.
An industrial gemstone tumbler is used to clean and smooth the rough material, allowing the peach opal to take its initial shape. The miners will take some samples, and shape them into cabochons for presentation at trade shows, like those held in Tucson. These rough examples are a good way for any prospective buyer to get an idea of how a finished, polished gem will look. In fact, it was at the 2017 Tucson gem shows that Shop LC buyers first discovered this new gem! Our buying team was so impressed with the quality of these examples that a purchase was quickly negotiated with this new partner.
• Ranks 5.5 - 6.5 on the Mohs scale.
• Color presents as a unique peachy-pink.
• Sourced from Lake County, Oregon.
• Oregon peach opal undergoes no additional treatment.