Opal is known to indigenous people as the fire of the desert, recognised as a powerful symbol of Australia’s arid interiorAccording to an old Australian Aboriginal legend, the Creator came down from the heavens on a rainbow and delivered a message of peace for all mankind. Stones that were near the place where his feet touched the ground suddenly came to life and began to sparkle. This was believed to be the birth of Opal.
According to science early opal formation began during the cretaceous period (145 to 66 millions years ago) to the middle tertiary period (66 to 2.58 million years ago). Opal is formed from a solution of silicon dioxide and water. Spheres of silica contained in silica-rich solutions in the earth form and settle under gravity in voids and cracks of the earth to form layers of silica spheres. Once these spheres reach uniform size precious opal forms producing a play of colour by diffraction in the visible light range of 400 to 700 nanometres.
Either way Australian Opal has had a colourful history since it’s accidental discovery by gold prospectors in the Austrlian outback during the late 1800’s. The Latin word ‘opulus’ evolved, meaning precious stone. It is thought that the name opal was derived from Sanskrit ‘upala’ meaning ‘valuable stone’ or possibly the Greek word ‘opallus’ which means to see a change in colour.
Australian Opal ….. the great artesian pot, inland seat ,,,,,,,,
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