I've loved opals for many years now, and have been searching for the perfect opal ring, but never quite found what I've been looking for. I love the all the crazy colors they come in, from deep turquoise blue, to white with flashes of orange and red, or blacks that eminate purples and golds. No other semi-precious stone astounds me in quite the same way. I dream of owning a big fat opal that I can wear proudly on my forefinger on my right hand. Where are you, my dream ring?!
Opal is widely available, but that's where I think the problem lies. Because the stone can be sliced thin to accomodate many kinds of designs, the stone itself has been devalued over the years, and no one makes NICE opal rings. I don't know the whole history of opals, but it's sad to see how such a beautiful stone gets relegated to some pretty gaudy designs. Whether it be of the dreary mid-western look, ethnocentric native-American styles, or kitschy icons of the beach (dolphins, clamshells, palm trees), it seems like opals are treated like third-class citizens in the world of semi-precious stones, and I really wish that some fantastic jewelry designer will see the potential and create a dream piece of jewelry.
Obviously, this is not a stone that can be polished to sparkle like a diamond. But I see high probability that with the right designs and marketing, this stone can be elevated to first-class status. Look what Mikimoto did for pearls, and Tiffany did for diamonds. These days, Van Cleef & Arpels sells pieces made with onyx, turquoise, and mother-of-pearl by the dozens. Right now, Australia owns the claim to fame for opals, and you can bet that it's not the fashionistas who are buying the pieces, but tourists who want to bring back a reminder of the world Down Under. Usually paired with (boring) sterling silver, opal just hasn't been given too much thought as the ultimate gemstone.
So imagine my delight when I opened up my October issue of Self, and dressed on Sarah Michelle Gellar, was a big, fat, bee-yoo-tiful opal ring. Framed in gold and diamonds, the opal is a wonderful orb that dazzles in multitudes of blue. I so want it! But dare I inquire as to the price? The ring was created by Fred Leighton, so one can imagine how costly this would be, tantamount to anything else designed by FL that would be exquisite but also extraordinarily expensive.
I have emailed them to inquire the cost. Will let you know if I hear back. I know it's not within my price range, but I'm nosy like that! Argh, it's so gorgeous!!!
UPDATE: This beautiful "fine Australian opal and diamond ring" can be had for the grand price of $25,000. ;P* Me want so bad!!!