5 Fun Facts About Opals, The October Birthstone

October’s Opals are quite the unique gemstone. They definitely don’t resemble many of the traditional gemstones we’re most familiar with and they look like you’re staring into a crystal ball. Come learn how to predict the future (your happiness) with opal facts and knowledge.

1. History: Thousands of years ago, rulers often wore the glittering orbs to guard their power and ensure their safety. These stones were placed in their crowns to protect themselves from enemies and ward off evil. At times, opals were even ground up and consumed to protect an individual from nightmares and evil spirits (although we don’t recommend this). In modern times opals are known to bring about happiness and confidence for the wearer.

2. Play of Color: Opals are most commonly found in ‘white,’ however within these white opals there is a rainbow-like iridescence which changes the colors that appear in the stone depending on the angle it is viewed at giving the opal a crystal ball look.

4. Opals come in many types: Mainly you can find opals in white, but you may find black opals, fire opals and crystal opals. Both the white and black variety have the play of color attribute, but fire opals do not. Ice also has stunning pink opal jewelry which is a type of fire opal. The best part about opals is that any angle you look at your stone, will show new amazing colors radiating within the piece.

3. Caring for opals: Since this stone is medium to soft you should be extra careful with it. I would recommend if you are wearing an opal ring to remove it when cleaning, working out or doing any sports and if you plan on going out be sure to put on makeup and hair products before you put your opal jewelry on. Do not use any harsh chemicals to clean it – simply wipe with a damp cloth. If you will not be wearing your opal jewelry for awhile, store it in a small plastic bag with a wet napkin so it doesn’t dry out and crack.

5. Opals on Mars: Several years ago in 2008, NASA announced the discovery of opal deposits on Mars! Since opal is made up of mostly water this means that Mars may have been wet for billions of years than previously thought which indicates it may have supported life. Fascinating!

Happy birthday to all the October babies this month! Check out our black, white and pink opals right here.

Be sure to comment below with any questions about opals or jewelry, we are always here to help you find the next best piece to add to your collection.

Have an Ice day!
-Reed

Aquamarine: The March Birthstone and a Mermaid’s Blue Treasure

With the coming of March spring is in the air, with the promise of warm blue skies ahead.  And blue is the primary color for the March birthstone, aquamarine.

Aquamarine belongs to the beryl family, as does emerald.  The color of aquamarine actually ranges from green to blue, and is due to small amounts of iron found in the beryl structure.  Technically speaking this is an impurity, but if iron was not found in beryl the world would be without this exquisitely-colored gem.

Aquamarine:  The Blue of the Sea

Aquamarine, Sapphire & Diamond Ring

Aquamarine derives its name from the Latin words “aqua” (water) and “mare” (sea), and much of the lore and legend aquamarine is bound up with the sea.  Indeed, aquamarines colors are often described as ranging from “sea-blue” to “sea-green.”

It is said that aquamarine can be found in a Mermaid’s treasure chest, which might explain why it has long been thought to keep sailors safe at sea – especially when the gemstone is immersed in water and bathed in sunlight.  Its powers are said not only to keep sailors safe, but to prevent seasickness.

As well, many of those celebrating a March birthday fall under the Zodiac sign Pisces (20 February-20 March):  “the fish.”  If you’re using the “new” Zodiac chart that includes the sign Ophiuchus, there’s another Zodiac sign related to water that falls in March.  Pisces is shifted until later in the year (11 March 11-18 April), and Aquarius – “the water carrier” – becomes the first Zodiac sign to appear in March (11 March-16 February).

Aquamarine Gemstones and Jewelry

Aquamarine tends toward to be light blue, but whether light or dark the most prized aquamarine gemstones are an intense blue in color, and exceptionally clear.

Probably the most famous source of these sought-after aquamarines is the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil.  The intense blue gemstones produced by this mine are referred to as “Santa Maria” aquamarines.  In Africa the mineral is also mined in Kenya and Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, and Tanzania, and is found as well in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Russia.

The range of variation found in both the color and transparency of aquamarine, as well as its relative hardness, makes aquamarine a favorite gemstone for modern jewelry designers.

There are many aquamarine jewelry pieces and crystals of historic importance:

  • The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., has a 52 carat aquamarine ring of amazing blue color set in unusual prongs that “float” up and over from the corners.
  • The Smithsonian also boasts, in the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals, a 15,256 uncut sea-blue aquamarine crystal.  That’s nearly 7 pounds!
  • In 1906 Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, was given a heart-shaped aquamarine as a wedding gift.  This gorgeous bluestone caused a surge in popularity for aquamarine jewelry in America.
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum and London boasts a beautiful “thistles” corsage ornament designed by Ren© Lalique around 1905.  This unique piece is set with diamonds with a spectacular aquamarine at its center.

March Birthstone Characteristics

The March birthstone is associated with the qualities of faithfulness, courage and friendship.

Healing powers are also attributed to aquamarine, including reducing anxiety and reducing the swelling of glands.  Aquamarine is also worn by some people to maintain the health of the jaws and teeth.  In Medieval times, it was even thought that aquamarine could help counteract the effects of poison. The metaphysical and healing powers of aquamarine are thought to be at their strongest when light passes through the gem and onto the body.

The fine blue tones of aquamarine complement almost any skin or eye color, so aquamarine jewelry looks attractive on almost all women.  Whether you’re looking for a gift to celebrate a March birthday or just want to treat yourself, the Ice store has a large selection of aquamarine pieces that are sure to delight!