Saturday, September 28, 2013

October's Birthstone: Opal

Vintage Fire Opal Harlequin Round Cabochons. 
October's birthstone is the opal.
The gemstone opal comes in many different hues, including warmly colored "fire opals" as well as striking blues. Vintage glass also displays a rich variety of hues made to mimic the various types of gemstone opal. We have a large collection of faux opal glass at Bumbershoot Supplies and Bumbershoot Designs. Typical among this style of glass are those that have a colored base, speckled with different colors of glass and foil, often with a layer of clear glass on top to provide a magnifying effect.

Vintage Ruby Red Fire Opal Pear Cabochons.
Vintage Blue Green Opal Cabochon.
Common gemstone opals, with their distinctive milky opacity also have inspired glass makers, resulting in a type of glass that is translucent with a golden glowing and sometimes fiery presentation. This type of glass is sometimes referred to as opaline, and the degree of fire varies from subtle to flashing.

Vintage Japanese Cherry Brand Opaline Glass Beads.
Vintage Opaline Leaf Cabochons.
You will also sometimes find these two types of glass worked together, a milky glass layer applied over a foil studded and speckled base.

Vintage Opal Glass Teardrop Rhinestones.
Opals have been the source of much folklore and superstition over the years.  Sometimes said to provide good luck and clarity to the wearers, they also have been associated with bad luck and death. 
Vintage Fire Opal Gold Filigree Cocktail Ring.
In 1870 Tiffany & Co. published a birthstone poem in one of their pamphlets. The poem for October goes: 
"October's child is born for woe,
And life's vicissitudes must know,
But lay an opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest."

For hopeful inspiration, we invite you to browse our vintage faux opal collections!

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