Opal : Fire opal or Mexican Megnificence
By Ashley Bailey , Monday, August 07, 2006 12:00 AM
One of the biggest rock sensations on television these days is a gemstone: ‘Sunkist’ orange fire opal from Mexico and Brazil.
If you ever watch shop-at-home television, you’ll see every one of the networks featuring this gemstone - far more often than they do the more familiar varieties of white and black opal.
And no wonder. One network we talked to says returns are less than half of what is normal. And since normal is anywhere from 20% to 40%, fire opal is an extremely profitable item.
Fire opal boasts the deep pumpkin and fireball orange of the best, and far more expensive garnets. That’s why it has been steadily gaining in popularity over the past decade - in tandem with garnet.
Alas, soaring demand is placing a terrible squeeze on supply. Mexico has been producing less and less material, which is forcing greater reliance on Brazil, whose stones are yellower and less fiery (but, as compensation, bigger).
Our own advice is to hold out for the Mexican variety. It has no peer for color and dynamism. And if you’re looking for an affordable splendor to give as a birthday gift, keep in mind opal is the October birthstone.
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