Your bridal party has been with you throughout your entire wedding planning journey in the lead up to your big day. You may be hunting for the perfect gifts or accessories to express your gratitude, and show them just how much you appreciate everything they’ve done to support you. Look no further than an entrancing, mesmerising, and wondrous opal.  A local touch for your South Australian wedding that they will treasure for years to come! Before making your selection from rings, earrings, pendants, and bracelets featuring this alluring stone, here is some information about these magnificent gems from Jess at Gerard McCabe – featuring images from their Opalescence Collection that features magnificent South Australian solid white opals from Coober Pedy.

Image by EVKA of Helena & Jake’s Elegant South Australian Winery Wedding 

Why is it called Opal?

Opal is from the Greek “Opallos” meaning to “see a change of colour”. Australian gemstones can easily be distinguished by their brilliance and play of colour. Each Australian opal is unique and the different varieties offer a spectacular choice of colour, shape and size. When rotated, the opal displays a constantly changing interplay of fiery colours.

How is an Opal formed?

Wearing an opal is like having your own personal window into the history of Australia. About 65-140 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, central Australia was covered by a giant inland sea. As the inland sea retreated, silica-rich sands were deposited, onto what is now basically a desert area. Weather conditions changed the sand sediments releasing large quantities of soluble silica, creating a gel. This gel seeped into cracks and crevices in the ground and gradually hardened through nature’s heating and moulding processes, resulting in the creation of opal.

Where do opals come from?

96% of the world’s precious opals come from three isolated areas in the outback of Australia. A small amount of precious Opal is found in Brazil and Mexico. Australian stones can easily be distinguished by their brilliance and play of colour.

In Australia, White Opal is mined principally from the South Australian fields of Mintabie, Coober Pedy and Andamooka. Black Opal comes from Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, whilst Light or Boulder Opal hails from Central Queensland. The opal fields of Australia are in the harsh outback where only the hardened miner can make a living. In South Australia, miners in Coober Pedy live in underground homes, dug into the barren ground, to escape the extraordinary heat and relentless dust.

How To Care For Your Opal

Once you’ve chosen the perfect accessory or gifts for your wedding party, to keep them looking their best it’s important to care for them properly. Although Opal is a magnificent and unique gem, it doesn’t have the resistance to breaking or scratching that diamonds or sapphires have. You will get the best out of your Opal if you protect the stone from heavy knocks and abrasive materials, keeping it away from extreme changes in temperature.

Here are some steps that you can follow so that your Opal always looks brilliant!

  • To avoid a build-up of dirt and grit, always remove your opal jewellery when washing dishes (if wearing an opal ring), showering or swimming.
  • Steer clear of bleach, chemicals, chlorine, perfume or dishwashing liquid that may cause discolouration or damage to your precious opal piece.
  • Use a fresh clean cloth to polish your jewellery, if your Opal loses its shine or becomes scratched, it can be professionally polished by an Opal cutter, restoring its natural beauty.
  • Keep your Opal away from sudden changes in temperature and the intensity of direct heat.
  • Try not to drop or bump your opal piece onto hard or abrasive surfaces.
  • Never put your opal into an ultrasonic cleaner, it may fracture your opal.
  • When storing your opal piece of jewellery for an extended period of time in a safe, place a small container of water in the safe next to your opal so that humidity is present. Another way that this can be achieved, is to wrap your piece in damp cotton wool, storing it in an airtight plastic bag.

What kind of Opal does Gerard McCabe sell?

Gerard McCabe sells solid opal in our Opalescence Collection – featuring opal from Coober Pedy in South Australia and Lightning Ridge in NSW. Solid opal can be cut into many shapes. Unlike diamonds and other precious gemstones, it is not cut into facets because this would spoil the play of colour with reflections. Usually, it is cut into softly curved cabochons and various freeform shapes.

A piece of jewellery that features an Opal gemstone really is a unique and thoughtful gift for anyone in your wedding party. There really is something to suit everyone’s taste in a diverse range of rings, earrings, pendants, and bracelets.  It’s a special and thoughtful gift, and will remind them of your wedding day, and your friendship, for years to come.

Image by Evan Bailey of Elisa & Anthony’s Elegant & Modern Adelaide Wedding

About Gerard McCabe: Gerard McCabe prides itself on developing unique jewellery collections which celebrate stories of life and love. The finest diamonds and gemstones are paired with exceptional design and strict manufacturing processes to produce for you a truly special piece. 

All product images of Gerard McCabe’s Opalescence Collection