Monday, February 24, 2014

Tucson Goodies, Part III: Peruvian Opals

Certain gems I just love in almost any incarnation. Peruvian opals fall into that category. I love them when they're a pure, sky blue, when they're slightly translucent with inclusions, and when they've got flashes of blue intermixed with brown "host rock" that makes them look like landscapes.

They're not an inexpensive stone - blue Peruvian opal is found in just one place: the Andes Mountains, in Peru. Like most relatively rare stones, it commands a relatively big price. And sometimes, as with most varied-color stones, you lose some of the patterns in smaller cuts. So this year I went a little bigger in my selections:

This is an example of a Peruvian with that great, sky-blue coloring. You can see bits of the host rock embedded within the blue color, but it certainly doesn't detract from such a beautiful cabochon. The length of this gem is about 1 3/4 inches - definitely a statement gem.

This is a great example of a more translucent opal. The soft hue combined with tan and a bit of black are lovely together.

These gems are some of my favorites - the "land and sea" stones. Great color, interesting detail, landscape-like variation.

And finally, the Mother of all opals:

It measures just under 2" long and is over 1/2" wide. I love the unusual cut and the landscape detail. It will be a bit more of a challenge to bezel (making larger bezels in general is harder than smaller bezels, plus it has two sharp corners which will be more difficult to set), but I'm very much looking forward to designing for this stone!

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