AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY TO UNVEIL DISPLAY OF SPECTACULAR OPALS
The American Museum of Natural History will unveil a display of 25 beautiful iridescent opals for public view on Thursday, February 26, in the Museum’s Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals. Opal deposits are found around the globe, but about 85 percent of the world’s gem opals are mined in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. These opals come from a range of locations—Australia, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, and the United States—and illustrate the gem’s diversity.
Renowned for their colorful iridescence, opals’ unique internal structure creates their colors by scattering light. Opal gemstones used in jewelry are relatively soft and fragile; they need protection from scratching, bumping, and abrupt temperature changes. Opal most commonly forms by the action of warm water on volcanic glass. It can also form at low temperatures, when water rich with dissolved silica mixes with sediment or enters rocks.
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