Throughout the world, opals are prized for their beautiful and diverse colors. The most impressive gems have traditionally been found across the rugged southwestern coastal range of Australia. In Queensland, for instance, it is not at all uncommon to find enormous opals. There are, however, unique properties that lead serious gemstone collectors to seek out opals elsewhere in the world. For instance, the opals now being discovered in the United States have been particularly impressive.

One of the more obscure locales for opals within the United States is the delightful Virgin Valley, tucked away in the remote Nevada desert.  These Nevada gems are quickly earning a reputation as high quality stones due to their dramatic shading and respectable size.  The opal deposits in Nevada are often located within a thick layer of clay.  So far there are few gemstone operations in there, but Nevada has enjoyed a long history of mining and they could be at the beginning of a new era of opal production.

The opal is Nevada’s official state gemstone, but the state is by no means the only place in the US to find superb opals.  Opal deposits discovered in and around the Spencer area of Idaho have also been particularly striking.  For thousands of years, Native Americans have used opals for both tools and beautiful ornamental jewelry such as pendants and earrings.  The early native tribes mined for these precious stones believing the exquisitely colored stones would act as protection from evil spirits when worn.  Indeed it is not hard to be inspired by the opaque brilliance of these luxurious gems.

The Spencer opal deposits can be found within thin layers of malleable earth. Scientists say this difference may explain the soft, creamy-white tinting uniquely attributed to the opals found in this area of the country.  New innovations in technology have made pinpointing opal deposits considerably less labor-intensive than in the past.  Who knows, there may be an exciting new find near you!

Opals have long been valued for their splendor but thanks to recent renewed interest, opals are on the experiencing a surge of popularity.  People born in the month of October have historically received opals as a birthstone, but with the increased interest caused by the discovery of new quality opals, these stones can be given for virtually any occasion and you'll be sure to get a smile.