"Nature's Fireworks" - A Beginner's Guide to OPAL - Part 5 Types of Opal

Written by Stuart Bazga

Continued from page 1

Matrix opal is when opal is infused inrepparttar rock in which it was formed. Veins of precious opal permeate sandstone or ironstone filling holes and crevices ofrepparttar 146821 host rock.

Synthetic Opal:

Synthetic opal asrepparttar 146822 name suggests, is produced inrepparttar 146823 laboratory and has a similar structure to that of precious opal.

The following observations can be made to differentiate between natural and synthetic opal:

a. Synthetic stones show brighter colours and larger colour patches;

b. In synthetic opal, colour grain boundaries are highly irregular;

c. Synthetic opal has a distinctive snakeskin patter;

d. The material shows a more ordered array of colour becauserepparttar 146824 intricate patterns of natural opal cannot be duplicated.

Rough Opal Parcels:

Rough opal parcels are sorted into three grades: Top, Middle and Low.

Each Top parcel has a King Stone (the best stone inrepparttar 146825 parcel). Colour isrepparttar 146826 primary criteria for grading.

You can buy rough opal in several different conditions:

a. Mine Run – Directly fromrepparttar 146827 miner himself. These stones have not yet been cut or graded.

b. Off Cuts – The miner has removed all marketable opal and you are sold what is left. With off cuts, you can usually tell what you are going to be able to cut.

c. Rubs – The opal stones have been cut and ground into basic shapes, after having removed most ofrepparttar 146828 rubbish.

Andomooke Matrix:

A more porous opal found inrepparttar 146829 mining fields. Out ofrepparttar 146830 ground it is quite pale, but after treating it with a carbon dye process it looks like a real, black opal.

Yowah Nut:

This rare and unusual opal, up to 5 cm across, looks like a round or oval nut and is an ironstone formation.

Opal forms withinrepparttar 146831 nut either as a solid kernel or more commonly, in concentric layers infused withrepparttar 146832 host rock. The nut has to be split open beforerepparttar 146833 contents are revealed and it may be split so that mirror images are produced.

Opal Doublets:

Opal doublets, asrepparttar 146834 name suggest, is a thin layer of precious opal cemented onto a backing, usually a piece of black common opal or ironstone. Produced becauserepparttar 146835 opal is too thin to produce a solid stone, doublets are a cheap and inexpensive way to buy a colourful piece of precious opal withoutrepparttar 146836 cost involved of a solid.


Similar to a doublet, but has three pieces sandwiched together, with a thin piece of precious opal cemented to a backing and a clear quartz cap placed on top to protect and bring outrepparttar 146837 colour ofrepparttar 146838 opal.

That conlcludes part 5. Inrepparttar 146839 final instlament I have combined Parts 6 and 7. We learn how opal is valued and I have included a dictionary giving definitions of those terms and words which you may be unfamiliar with.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and as always, I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Best wishes and have a great day

Stuart Bazga


Kulpunya Opals

A short biography on some of Europe's most loved and hated Monarchs - Pt 1 Vlad Tepes (Dracula)

Written by Stuart Bazga

Continued from page 1

Atrepparttar beginning of 1462, Vlad launched a campaign againstrepparttar 146689 Turks alongrepparttar 146690 Danube River which was very successful, managing several victories. In retaliation for these losses,repparttar 146691 Sultan decided to launch a full-scale invasion of Wallachia with an army three times larger than Dracula's. Vlad was forced to withdraw towards Tirgoviste, burning villages and poisoning wells alongrepparttar 146692 way.

These acts were designed to hinderrepparttar 146693 Turkish army in their search for food and water. Whenrepparttar 146694 Sultan’s armies finally reachedrepparttar 146695 capital city, exhausted and hungry, they were confronted by a horrific sight: thousands of stakes heldrepparttar 146696 bodies of some 20,000 Turkish captives, which came to be known as "Forest ofrepparttar 146697 Impaled." The scene which was laid out before them had an immediate effect;repparttar 146698 Sultan hungry and worn out retreated. The Sultan Mehmed leftrepparttar 146699 next phase ofrepparttar 146700 battle to Vlad's younger brother Radu who pursued his brother and wife to Poenari castle onrepparttar 146701 Arges River.

Dracula's wife, in order to escape Turkish capture, committed suicide by hurling herself fromrepparttar 146702 upper walls, her body falling downrepparttar 146703 cliff face intorepparttar 146704 river below. Vlad managed to escaperepparttar 146705 siege and made his way to hungry withrepparttar 146706 help of local peasants. Upon his arrivalrepparttar 146707 Hungarian king Matthias arrested Dracula and imprisoned him atrepparttar 146708 Hungarian capital of Visegrad.

In 1475, Vlad Tepes again became prince of Wallachia where he enjoyed a very short third reign. He was assassinated towardsrepparttar 146709 end of 1476.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Vlad Tepes or as he was better known-Dracula.

In my next article will learn aboutrepparttar 146710 life of(Mad)King George III.

Unitl then,

Best wishes and have a great day

Stuart Bazga

Guide to Castles of Europe

A Guide to Castles of Europe was born from childhood dreams and aspirations. It is my hope to educate and stimulate you into exploring these castles for yourselves.

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