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Learning Library

Fire Opal Gemstone

With a glow like a raging fire and a hue of a Spanish sunflower.


Fire Opal Unlike regular Opals, where the body colour is normally white to grey, Fire Opal is a stunning orange to yellowish-orange colour, which has a beautiful warm fiery glow. It really is one of the most unique stones in the gem world. Another name for Fire Opal is Girasol, which comes from the Spanish for sunflower.
Quality transparent Fire Opal is very rare indeed and therefore very expensive, however if you are on a tight budget and want to add one to your collection then go for a piece that is translucent to opaque: these are still very beautiful and have a glowing ‘cloudy’ appearance similar to Blue Moon Quartz.

Fire Opal can be found in a handful of small deposits around the world, such as Guatemala in the USA, Brazil, Canada and Turkey.

The most significant discovery of Fire Opal has been in Mexico, where it is regarded as the country’s national gemstone. High up in the mountain region where extinct volcanoes shape the landscape, there are several mines now producing small quantities of Fire Opal. Most of these mines are open cast; however as the Fire Opal tends to be discovered in crevices and cavities, there are some regions where it is found in long, winding, narrow passages, where the sides of the rock face are over 50 metres high.

Throughout history, many religions and cultures around the world believed that Fire Opal was created in the waters of paradise. The Aztecs worshipped the gem and named it “quetzalitzlipyollitli”, meaning the “stone of the bird of paradise”. In Ancient India and Ancient Persia, Fire Opal was admired as a symbol of ardent love.

There are many suggested benefits to wearing this gemstone but, before we even look at what crystal healers believe, let me start by saying that, like Citrine or Lemon Quartz, when you wear a piece of Fire Opal you find it almost impossible to look at it and not smile.

Stare at it for more than a few seconds and you feel complete warmth, a sense of happiness with the world and a feeling of being at one with nature. Its warming colours are viewed best in daylight, particularly just after sunrise and just before sunset.

The gem is believed to bestow courage, to increase willpower and energy. Others believe that it brings the wearer peace and harmony, and that it can help to disperse old ways of thinking and make room for new ways. In fact if you search the internet long enough, you will find that Fire Opal is just about a cure for everything!

Dourada Fire Opal
For many years Mexico has dominated the market for the supply of Fire Opal and very little has been discovered elsewhere. Recently, near the city of Soledade, in the north of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, a new exciting deposit has been found. The quality of Fire Opal from here is world class.

Those who are use to seeing cloudy, sleepy Fire Opals will be amazed by the Rio Grande Fire Opal’s amazing diaphaneity (crystal transparency). The gem’s openness of colour provides the gem with a brilliance rarely seen in Opal. Its name ‘Dourada’ is derived from the Brazilian Portuguese word for ‘golden’.

The gem was first discovered by a couple whilst hiking as they searched for twigs and logs to build a camp fire. At first they thought the stone was Amber and kept it for themselves as a souvenir, it was only a few years later when they showed the piece to a friend who collected gemstones that it was correctly identified as an Opal and the hunt to find the deposit began.

There are four varieties currently unearthed: Lemon, Golden, Orange and Dendretic Fire Opal. All shades share the same quality of fine crystal structure and superb clarity.

The size of the rough pieces unearthed in the region are on average around two to four grams, resulting in finished carat weights normally in the range of two to four carats.

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Fire Opal.