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Precious opal


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In an earlier post I mentioned getting some chunks of opal from an area that had veins of it. It was neat patterns and colors and really glassy in some spots but just appeared to be common opal. The other day I went through some of the pieces I had brought home, while sitting outside in the sun and checking it from a lot of different angles. I was thrilled to find some small flashes of fire in a few pieces of it!

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Sorry Chris, but that sure looks like refracted light from fractures in the quartz. It occurs a lot in quartz and has a rainbow effect if you will. I hope i`m wrong but.....it sure looks that way.

Edited by adam
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Well, I am certainly open to the possibility that I have made a false identification, but based on what I am seeing I am pretty confident in what I've found. In my opinion this is not just refracted light from the Quartz. I have seen more pieces of Quartz than I can even begin to remember. That is a giant chunk of opal not Quartz. I know they are all silicas so they are similar but this stuff is a lot different than Quartz. It has a concoidal fracture and it is unbelievably easy to slice your hand open badly while looking at this stuff. It is just like glass. I know what a little brief glimmer of color from a Quartz crystal looks like and this is not it. If I could post a vid of it, it is a lot easier to see. It is not just a little glint or twinkle at one angle it is more like what is described as a flashing or rolling color bar, on quite a few pieces of it. There is pretty broad spectrum of angles the piece can be held at that shows the color, and the color "rolls" meaning as you turn it, it kind of dances across one small area and slowly shows up more and just slightly changes color and brightness as you roll it. Once I found out where the color was on a few pieces, I was easily able to find it again, even on a very cloudy day with no sun out, and looking at it inside under a weak incandescent I was still able to see it. The color flashes in a very neat way, once you see it you will notice a pattern to it. Like there is three or four bars of color next to each other in one spot, after you see the color and start rolling it from side to side where that flash is most prominent, you will see when it's held at one angle it might appear more pink on the color bar, as you turn it to the opposite edge of the color flash it might be a vibrant blue from being held a slightly different way. Also, this area where I mentioned there was opal in veins and where I got this stuff, is a textbook example of the kind of area and requirements to form opal. It is a volcanic area that has tons of lava flows and the opal has formed in there. It is in veins and nodules all over the old lava flows. Also, characteristic of opal, on the weathered and exposed sections of the vein the opal appears dehydrated and looks pretty rough. As you get a little bit into the vein, where the opal has retained its water, it looks unbelievably glossy, and shiny. It's in an abundance of colors and patterns. In some of the washes in the area, where the floods have cut away the hill and left vertical sections of the wash, you can see it is just filled with what looks like little tiny white dried veins running through the dirt. It is the silica rich solution running through those hills that made the opal deposits. I will work on getting some better pictures of the color. I will be doing a lot of hunting in that area and will definitely share pics if I can find any more larger patches of color.

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Well I am bummed to hear that. I guess if it really looked as promising as I thought it did someone would've surely chimed in by now to congratulate me. Looks like the general consensus is a resounding no. Well, in my defense I will just say there is some amazing color showing on some areas of it and it is unlike any color I have ever seen from a fracture.

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Actually those pictures look more promising. I would not wager on it without it being in hand. Have someone that has experience with opal take a look at it. If you cannot find someone local then send it to Steve or myself. I have plenty of low grade opal I can send to you so you have something to compare it to. I am busy with all the rock and gem shows so it would be awhile until I have time to dig them out.

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I sent you a pm Steve, can't wait to see what your sending!

Yea good point dday, it is some neat looking stuff anyway. I was really hoping it was maybe some really low grade precious opal that just had some little tiny spots of fire in it. I guess I did the classic rookie thing and just assumed what I had found was for sure the real deal. I'm still holding out some hope for it.

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