Opals are perhaps the most varied of precious gemstones, with a huge variety of different types, which all have their own particular charms.
Common opal can be milky like moonstone but with a broader variety of colours. Precious opal, which is well represented in antique jewellery, exhibits multiple colours of fierce inner fire that shift as the stone is turned. Black opal, which is rarer and more valuable, has a darker body colour which allows the fire to shine all the brighter in comparison. There are also varieties of synthetic opal which exhibit a more uniform appearance with flecks of colour suspended within.
This piece holds at its heart a fire opal, a rare variety which is primarily found in Mexico. These stones exhibit fiery hues from bright yellow through to a deep red. Many are translucent or opaque, but the most highly prized are transparent and exhibit bright colours like this one.
This stone, weight approximately 10 carats, is an extremely vivid orange. Its size, coupled with its clarity and stark colour, makes it one of the most valuable of these stones we have ever encountered. The original jeweller chose this stone exceedingly well, and crafted an unobtrusive gallery from 18ct white gold to hold it firmly without obscuring the many facets of the stone itself.
The brooch is set with an onyx band which sits behind the main stone, giving a high level of contrast and further adding to the vibrancy of the fire opal’s colour. Elaborate diamond and white gold fittings on either side create a sparkling effect on either side that complete the piece.
Crafted during the Art Deco period, this brooch exhibits a number of the prevalent styles of the age. Its geometric shapes are laced together in an extremely precise fashion, with stepped outside edges that have been elaborately engraved to support and magnify the fire of the diamonds contained within them.
Whilst the setting is expertly crafted the original jeweller was clearly aware that the star of this show was this magnificent fire opal. It shows an understanding of light and shadow, as well as a true aesthetic sensibility, that the jeweller resisted the urge to crowd the stone or to build overly elaborate flanking designs.
You can view this beautiful piece here.
Our full collection of opals can be found here.