Natural Ethiopian Welo Opal Rough
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The last two photos are examples of a 5 gram and 10 gram lot.
Known for their extraordinary play of color, Welo opals are found in South Wello, Amhara Region, Ethiopia. A wealth of myths surround opals, perhaps the most persistent of which is that they have to be stored in water. While most Welo Opals are considered "hydrophane", this does not mean they need to be stored in water, but rather that they are porous and able to absorb a little water unlike their Australian counterpart. When displayed in water, Welo opals show all their true colors. The water helps amplify the light and they have a very polished appearance even though the opals are completely raw and unaltered.
Opals are made up of water, and the main ingredient of glass known as silica. Over time, the fluid in these silica rich pockets begins to evaporate and the silica particles cling to each other until they eventually become little spheres of pure silica. By little I mean one tenth of a millionth of a millimeter in size! These teensy tiny spheres of silica all stack together and cause the incredible rolling color changing effect that captivates opal lovers around the globe. As white light enters the opal it hits these tiny spheres of silica and splits bouncing around this array of spheres until it refracts back to our eyes at infinite angles showing us an incredible play of color we know as opal magic.