The World of Opals

Front Cover
John Wiley & Sons, Oct 2, 1997 - Nature - 448 pages
Centuries after it was first discovered, the opal remains the undisputed Queen of Gems. A stone of incredible beauty and variety, with a background rich in myth, adventure, and intrigue, it is considered by many to be the most desirable, the most handsome, and the most precious of all gemstones.

The first comprehensive book on the subject in over thirty years, The World of Opals is a complete guide to the science and history of these remarkable gems. It begins with a thorough examination of the physical properties and attributes of common and precious opals, with up-to-date information on opal formation, extraction, storage, and cutting. Next, it chronicles man's involvement with the stone from 4000 B.C. to the present, following the opal through countless reversals of fortune and mythology as talisman, prognostic aid, patron stone of thieves, and bearer of bad luck.

Readers will find fascinating de-tails about the discovery, whereabouts, and value of famous opals, from such classic specimens as the Burning of Troy Opal to the Bonanza Opal and other more recent discoveries. Finally, the book surveys today's major opal-producing areas and provides current information on opal occurrence worldwide.

Punctuating the text are useful tables, extensive glossaries of opal types and opal-related terms, and beautiful photographs that capture the essence and mystery of this most exquisite stone.

Accessible and authoritative, The World of Opals is a first-rate reference that will be consulted by mineral and gem enthusiasts for years to come.

The complete guide to the science and history of opals

The World of Opals contains thorough and accessible coverage of all aspects of the legendary Queen of Gems. It features the latest information on how opals are formed, where they are found, and how the stone is mined, and explores the fascinating history and mythology of opals throughout the ages. An indispensable addition to the library of every mineral and gem enthusiast, this definitive reference includes:

  • In-depth material on physical properties, attributes, and handling
  • A multifaceted examination of opal formation, opalized fossils and pseudomorphs, and opal types
  • Famous and distinctive opals, including weight, origin, date of discovery, and background
  • An up-to-date survey of major opal fields, plus an alphabetical guide to opal occurrence worldwide
  • Extensive glossaries of opal types and related terms, plus bibliography, tables, photographs, and more
 

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Contents

TWO A New Look at Opal Formation
17
THREE Opalized Fossils and Pseudomorphs
39
FOUR A Chronological History and Mythology of Opals
53
FIVE Famous and Otherwise Noteworthy Opals
119
SEX Types of Opals
161
SEVEN The Worlds Major Opal Fields
187
EIGHT Opal Occurrence Worldwide
263
APPENDIX A Glossary of OpalRelated Terms
373
NOTES
387
Index
419
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Archaeomineralogy
George Rapp
Limited preview - 2009

About the author (1997)

ALLAN W. ECKERT, PhD, has been a professional writer for over thirty years, with more than thirty-seven books to his credit. He is the recipient of an Emmy Award for outstanding program achievement, and his short stories have earned him seven Pulitzer Prize nominations. A member of the American Society of Gemcutters, Dr. Eckert has mined opals in Virgin Valley, Nevada, as well as at the New Coocoran Opal Field of Lightning Ridge and the White Cliffs Opal Field, both in New South Wales, and at the Yowah Opal Field in southwestern Queensland. Over the past six years, he has cut and polished over 4,000 opals and faceted hundreds of other gemstones. His previous publications include the four-volume set Earth Treasures, a guide to rock dig locations in the United States.

Bibliographic information