Opal rings are perfect for October's Libras. The sign's symbol, scales, represent balance - and at Bario Neal we see an appealing evenness in opals. The stones are complex yet still a neutral that works with so many other gems. Opals are vintage and timeless. They're translucently open but also carry a bit of swirling mystery. Throughout history, they've been considered magical, in part because of their power to show all colors. What opal rings are not: just for Libras.
At Bario Neal, we embrace opals all year long, and we design our opal rings to tap into the rainbow bursts that shine from the stone. We love opals so much that we've made an opal the center of our new Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ring.
"Opal rings are super-popular," says Emily Shank, Bario Neal Jeweler. "I think a lot of people are drawn to the flashes of color in opals, and they're kind of mystical. Some people call it fire."
If you're ready to shop opal rings, here are a few tips for care and ideas for finding the right opal ring design for you.
1. DO mix colorful gemstones into opal rings.
Our new Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ring is the perfect example of how opals are their best selves when surrounded by colorful gemstones. Opal also makes a subtle partner for a bright emerald in this Cluster Opal Ring.
2. DON'T wear your opal ring when doing work that's hard on your hands
Opals look lovely with diamonds (see our Linear Opal Ring) but they are more delicate than hard diamonds and sapphires. They can easily chip. If you work with your hands a lot, or if you know you're hard on your hands, a diamond or sapphire might be the better gemstone for an engagement ring you wear every day. Depending on wear, an opal or other gemstone may be chipped, scratched, or scuffed relatively easily. However, many Bario Neal clients choose opal engagement rings. Emily suggests applying the "pearl rule" to opal rings: the last thing on and first thing off. P.S. The Linear Opal Ring is Emily's favorite opal ring in the Bario Neal collection.
"The mix pulls out different tones in the opal," she says. "It's different and more subtle than the rainbow but definitely has an interesting play of color. At the same time, the subtlety of the side stones also makes the opal pop more."
3. DO buy ethically sourced opals.
Bario Neal sources its opals from an Ethiopian mining collective that makes sure the operation benefits the community. The miners mostly use hand tools and work close to the surface, which means low environmental impact. The opals are cut and polished in a well-respected facility in Jaipur, India.
4. DON'T soak your opal ring in water, expose them to other chemicals or extreme heat.
Along with being softer than diamonds, opals are also porous. That's why you should never fully immerse opal jewelry into water to clean. Instead, go gentle with a very soft damp cloth only and avoid using chemical cleaners like Windex. Ethiopian opals are different from other opal types and cannot get wet as it may damage them. It is important to take your ring off during activities that could cause damage as well as in extreme temperatures. Opals are vulnerable to cracking if exposed to rapid changes in temperature such as doing the dishes and showering. Opals are an extremely porous, soft and brittle stone so, there are a variety of reasons the stone can become discolored including but not limited to; exposure to water, cleaning solutions, soap, perfume and heat. (Check out Bario Neal's easy guide to jewelry care.)
"Think of opals like a sponge. If you use a harsh chemical, or extremely hot water, they will just take that in," Emily says. "That will ruin the play of color and whatever flash your opal has."
5. DO forgive yourself for instantly falling in love with our new Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ring.
We're so excited to show off the delicate power of opals with this new ring design. The opal ring has a yellow sapphire, a green tourmaline, a London blue topaz, a Rhodolite garnet, and more. "I really like the way opals look with other stones," Emily says. "And in the Dez Opal with Rainbow Halo Ring, I love how it pulls all the colors from the opal and at the same time, it makes the opal more subdued because there is such intense color around it. Overall, you will notice the rainbow halo. But if you look closely at the ring, you will find each of those colors in the center stone."
6. DO find the special in Bario Neal's faceted opals.
A lot of opals are "cabochons." Think of a half sphere or a dome setting look that's reminiscent of cameos, where the sides and bottom of the stone are entirely set into the metal of the ring. Bario Neal's opals are faceted opals, meaning they are cut like diamonds or other similar gemstones. "That adds another level of interest," Emily says. "With our prong settings, you can see more angles of the opal, and that means it plays with light differently." The design gives opals a more modern feel, like in this custom-designed Custom Marquise Opal and Morganite Cluster Ring.
7. DO dream about how to personalize your perfect opal ring.
Many Bario Neal clients have worked with us to use opals' balancing act to create gorgeous personalized opal rings. This earthy yet otherworldly Custom 7.5mm Heirloom Diamond and Opal Cluster Ring is based on our Eaves Cluster Opal with Morganite Ring.
Shop opal rings on our site today, or start thinking about all the ways you might use an opal in a personalized ring by filling out Bario Neal's Custom Design Questionnaire. You'll notice we don't ask if you're a Libra!