The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is widely recognized as the world's foremost authority in gemology, including diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. Through research, education, and laboratory services, the GIA serves the public interest through objective gemstone evaluation, including identification.
You can purchase our gemstone jewelry with added confidence knowing that QVC incorporates the GIA's expertise into the QVC gemstone identification quality assurance process.
For more information on the GIA, visit www.GIA.edu.
For more information on the gemstones found at QVC, check out our gemstone glossary.
Stone Information & Mining
Opal is known for its unique display of flashing rainbow colors called play-of-color. There are two broad classes of opal: precious and common. Precious opal displays play-of-color, common opal does not. Opal is the product of seasonal rains that drenched dry ground in regions such as Australia's semi-desert "outback." The showers soaked deep into ancient underground rock, carrying dissolved silica (a compound of silicon and oxygen) downward. During dry periods, much of the water evaporated, leaving solid deposits of silica in the cracks and between the layers of underground sedimentary rock. The silica deposits formed opal. Play-of-color occurs in precious opal because it's made up of sub-microscopic spheres stacked in a grid-like pattern—like layers of Ping-Pong balls in a box. As the lightwaves travel between the spheres, the waves diffract, or bend. As they bend, they break up into the colors of the rainbow, called spectral colors. Play-of-color is the result. When Australia's mines began to produce opals commercially in the 1890s, it quickly became the world's primary source for this October birthstone.
Legend & Lore
Because opal has the colors of other gemstones, the Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all. The Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms.
Opal hues can range across the spectrum. An opal might display a single color, two or three colors, or all the colors of the rainbow. Opal displays background color in addition to play-of-color. Background color—also called body color—is caused by the suspension of tiny impurities within opal's silica spheres.
The only safe way to clean opal is with warm, soapy water.
Shop our selection of opal jewelry.
About Black Hills Gold
Legend has it that good luck comes to those who wear Black Hills Gold. Inspired by the mythical goldsmith Henri Le Beau, this collection is quintessentially American. Enjoy 10K yellow gold and sterling silver with grape leaves of 12K green and rose gold.
Although many people think of Black Hills Gold as mined gold, it's actually a type of design. The green and rose gold you see in every piece is created by adding silver and copper alloys to yellow gold. By federal mandate, this jewelry style must be manufactured in the Black Hills of South Dakota in order to carry the namesake.
The process begins with artisans transforming sketches into master wax models. Other types of molds are created as well. Pressure injected with hot molten wax, the molds are then placed into a stainless steel can. Liquid plaster of Paris is poured into the can. Once the plaster is set, the can is placed in a kiln for an overnight burnout cycle.
Next, cavities in the plaster are filled with melted gold and alloy. Once the gold cools and hardens, the plaster is knocked away and cast gold designs are cut from the tree. Then, they're tumbled for an initial polishing. The component leaves are shimmied in a special way to create a frosty finish and engraved with cuts for a shimmering look. Leaves, grapes, and other elements are soldered onto the cast. Once all of the components are in place, the jewelry is tumbled again for polishing.
No jewelry is flashed with gold plating, and multiple polishing and buffing stages help enhance the natural sheen. All pieces are meticulously cleaned and coated with a special solution and undergo thorough inspection.
Information provided by Black Hills Gold by Coleman.