Fire opal is an exciting variety with which to start your collection.
Opals in any form are amorphous gems. And that lack of cubic structure to their makeup is what allows the spectacular play of color we love. One trait that all opal shares is a percentage of water trapped within them; anywhere from 3% up to 30%, so care is warranted when storing them.
Fire opal's long history dates back to the 14th century. Early Aztecs gathered these eye catching stones. Still today, Mexican residents scour open pit quarries for them. Some people believe that the Mexicans bestowed its name, fire opal on this smoldering hot gem. The ginger, cherry, and searing golden hues of fire opal keep these breathtaking jewels perennially popular.
Fire opal ranges from semi-translucent to transparent. Designers often select the dreamy semi-transparent fire opal to interpret their original designs. The impression made with semi-translucent fire opal adds a level of intrigue to their collection--so people ask, "What is this mysterious jewel?"
While other opals are most often polished in cabochon cuts, fire opal is also successfully faceted into lively brilliant gem shapes. The most saturated reds have added collectability as do highly transparent fire opals since these are more rarely occurring. Several deposits around the world produce fire opal:
Photo: Fire Opal Courtesy: http://www.thaigem.com/