Madonna in Opal

October 21st, 2009 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
Madonna in Opal

Madonna in Opal

A jeweler in Cabo San Lucas sold this Mexican matrix opal pendant to my client.  He was very proud of the “Madonna” within the precious opal center.  The white rhyolite matrix even has a “halo” or “glory” hovering over the figure!

I was very interested in the inclusions, never having seen “fish scales” in opal before. Or you could call them “fingerprint” inclusions, like what we often see in ruby and sapphire. I've sent a copy of the photo above to my friend John Koivula, gemologist jefe at GIA- we'll let you know if he has anything to add.

The opal was tricky to photograph– the color flashes were elusive and difficult to capture– just the slightest variation changed the picture dramatically. Not the greatest opal in terms of play of color but certainly one of the most unusual and interesting stones we've seen in a while!


Flashes of Color Illuminate the Madonna


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