Opal is an environmental wonder from several perspectives. In
the view of jewelry designers it is a beautiful slice of nature. It is a
versatile and colorful gemstone with much eye appeal. Fashion accessory
consultants see it as a beautiful accent.
Opal is an environmental wonder to geologists as well. The
silica is deposited by water in fissures in the host rock, if the right elements
and conditions existed over long periods. Most opal deposits are not gem
quality. This non-gem material is known to geologists as amorphous
silica or opaline silica.
As you know, opal is tiny spheres of silica with spaces between
the spheres. The play of color that gem quality stones exhibit is caused by the
rounded spheres and moisture trapped between the spheres. The highly magnified
image below illustrates this structure.
A research team from Stanford has been studying the
characteristics of opal deposits
for other purposes. A couple of weeks ago a Stanford
geochemist (Kate Maher)presented
a research team’s findings at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union
in San Francisco, and has published the findings in a Stanford Knowledgebase
—Across the United States there are more than a dozen major sites where soil
and groundwater are contaminated with substantial amounts of uranium — a
highly mobile, radioactive element. Most of the contamination is from poor
disposal practices at mines or plants that processed uranium-rich ore for power
plants or nuclear weapons, or reprocessed spent or decommissioned uranium.
Cleaning up such sites is a
problem that has bedeviled remediation efforts for decades. There has been no
simple, reliable, cost effective way to do it. Now a team of researchers led by
Stanford geochemist Kate Maher is proposing to imitate nature by using amorphous
silica — also known as the precious gemstone opal — to sequester the
uranium. Once ensconced inside opal, the uranium molecules would be rendered
immobile and chemically inert.
“We have looked at
opaline silica in deposits across the western U.S. and almost universally we
find very high uranium concentrations,” said Maher...
According to computer
modeling studies that the researchers have done using their data from natural
opal deposits, opaline silica may offer a faster, cheaper, more enduring way to
sequester uranium than other current or proposed methods...
The sequestering process
would involve pumping a solution rich in dissolved silica into the subsurface
through injection wells, effectively flooding the contaminated areas with it. As
the solution moved through the soil or rock, chemically interacting with its
surroundings, amorphous silica would precipitate out and latch on to dissolved
The team made clear that the uranium contamination is at some
uranium mines and some uranium processing plants, and not at nuclear power
research team believes decontamination processes using amorphous
silica may be a more effective and less expensive way to clean up uranium
Opal is an environmental wonder, and a beautiful, colorful
A Google search using keywords such as opal doublet or opal
play of color can return some very interesting
information and websites.
Here is this month's special gem deal. I have a good selection
of garnets in inventory. A variety of colors, shapes, and sizes are
available... but only this one with the specifications listed below.
Spessartite Garnet (aka Mandarin Garnet)
Orange garnet is a prized variety of the gem garnet family.
These stones are natural and untreated.
We keep gem prices low by buying quality gemstone rough
worldwide, and having the rough material cut by our gem cutters in Asia.
Gem Industry News
Christmas Sales Season For Jewelry Described as
But Some Say "Flat"
JCK Online is reporting mixed sales results for the Christmas sales
While most jewelers told JCK
that sales were up, a sizable percentage found business flat or even down from
Still, most were smiling when all was said and done.
One jewelry store owner queried by JCK was satisfied with sales, “People
seem to be more ‘up’ this year, and settled into the ‘economic new
normal,’” she is quoted as saying. “They’re spending less than they
would have five years ago, but seem less worried overall.”
We Thank You
We've had a good season, and a successful year. Thanks go to our internet
customers and our dealers local and internet dealers.
We appreciate your patronage!
Now is the time to take a week to recharge... before you begin thinking of
replenishing your depleted inventory.
And then the Tucson Gem Shows are only a month away. Also, Valentine's Day is coming.
If this business wasn't so enjoyable, it could turn into work.
Be The Quality Jewelry Discounter.
Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?
Do you enjoy talking with friends and friends