Monday, August 6, 2012

Natural Wonders: Peruvian blue opal

Peruvian blue opal (there's also a pink version) is relatively rare. It's found only in the Andes Mountains in Peru, South America. The blue version ranges from a very pale, translucent light blue, to an opaque, rich teal. The deeper teal versions often seem to be cut like boulder turquoise, with the host stone included in the finished product.

"The host stone is usually cut one of three ways - clear, to showcase that Caribbean color, - scenic, to show varying degrees of color, or dendritic - to highlight the black fernlike inclusions oftentimes found in the material." source

It may have many "faces", as referenced above, but it's always an attention-getter, as some recent purchases indicate:

This cab has what looks to be the host stone included (the brown stripe at the top) and shows the color range in just one stone. Also in the center you can see the "fern-like inclusions" mentioned.

This one...this is a stunner. A little reminiscent of chrysocolla, with the green bits, but the shape, range of colors, and the translucency (which I couldn't quite capture with the camera) make this stone a standout.

Here are a few I've set:

and some earrings:

and more are waiting on the work table. The nice thing about working with Peruvian opals is that they're not as fragile as "regular" opals, which have a tendency to fracture under the pressure of setting. So that makes for a happy jeweler.  :)


  1. Jill what stunning pieces! I don't work as a fine jeweler... I am so intrigued by your process and craftsmanship. Your blog is at the top of my list to come back to and peruse fully! Thank you for sharing your process!

  2. Thank you, Tamera, for such sweet comments. I didn't start out like this (which you probably know if you've been reading). It's a fairly recent development in my jewelry career...but I am loving it. :)

  3. All these stones are looking very nice, I think it will run a long..Thanks for sharing the information...

    loose opal stones

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