Opal & The Mastery of Colour

on . Posted in Jewellery - The Opal Story

crevoshay1Jewels of fantasy.... Tutti Frutti!

Deliciously delectable like tropical fruit!

Natures Art: designed to inspire Life....

Modern Colourful Creations

The famous French jewellery houses still operating today Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Mauboussin, and the newest entrant Dior have all recently featured opal in their designs. In the United States Tiffany & Seaman Schepps continue to create opal jewellery. Often the stones are selected in the rough and cut by in-house lapidaries; as does Piaget of Switzerland who create single piece opal faced timepieces.


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1.Jellyfish by Dior 2005

2. Tiffany Bracelet

3. Black Opal breasted hummingbird by Verdura

4. Verdura Ring c.1950

5. Scavia necklace 2006

6. Van Cleef & Arpels Ring

7. 'Picasso's Man' by bolda

8. Mauboussin Jellyfish 2000

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The use of Opals in Jewellery design is wide spread. Those designers who truly appreciate these diverse and phenomenal gemstones have used them more extensively and creatively to produce beguiling jewels which celebrate the artful nature of jewellery and adornment.

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Being the most colourful gemstones Opals are well sought after by jewellers to portray flora, fauna and nature.

It is by no coincidence that Dior, Mauboussin - the House of, and Patrick Mauboussin (opp.) have all recently used Opals in their renditions of Jellyfish. (Photo.1,8,9)

Van Cleef & Arpels 'Nuit d'Orient' ring (Photo.6) features a magnificent black opal of 22.96 carats. The ring has aquatic highlights enhanced by the mounting which represents the pools, cascades and bridges of peaceful Oriental gardens.

Fulco di Verdura established himself in the US in the late 1930's, until then he had been working there for the famous Hollywood jeweller Flato. Verdura's whimsical flair made for unforgettable jewels, the themes of which included beasts, birds, fish and neptunes. He emphasised colour and semiprecious stones, often using Opals. Clients with important jewels and gemstones would come to his small atelier and trade in their valuable pieces for his up to date creations. However Verdura retained the respect of New York's precious jewellers to whom he sold back the jewels and gemstones which were out of place in his repertoire.

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In Europe, Scavia of Italy and Majoral of Spain are successful contemporary designers who use opals extensively and to great effect. Whilst in America a trip to Bergdorf Goodman luxury department store on New York's 5th Ave confirms that Opals are popular amongst the elite clientele of the hot new jewelry designer names such as Nicholas Varney & Paula Crevoshay. In Australia the twenty-first century has seen the emergence of Opal jewellery brands like  bolda, focused on bringing Opal to the attention of fashionable customers whose passions are awakened by exciting modern designs.


Objet d'Art

Opals continue to be adapted with great effect in the decoration of Objet d'Art such as these beautiful and practical items below:

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Swiss watchmaker and jeweller Piaget made a lasting impression when he launched ultra-slim precious watches with gemstone dials. After 1964, the two-millimetre high case incorporated hard-stone dials just seven-tenths of a millimetre thick. These generously sized dials made numerals and hour markers superfluous. In the early 1970s Piaget used hard stones both for dials and to adorn its oversized cuff watches for men and women. The firm still produces solid Opal faced watches, they are highly collectible and particularly popular in Japan. Pictured: Cuff watch from the 'slave' collection with Opal dial and 1,000 brilliants made in 1971.


Famous jewellery house Mauboussin formed a horological division in 1994, since creating beautiful and functional jewel set watches. The Haute jewellery version of the 1995 female sports model (pictured) has an automatic movement and is made of solid white gold set with sapphires, Opals and diamonds.

Haas & Cie of Switzerland are renowned watchmakers who have been creating fine timepieces since 1848. In the mid 1980's Haas produced a series of solid gemstone watch cases, Opal featured amongst these highly collectible editions.

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Marcus & Co. of New York (1892-1942) always added a level of complexity to what is already a complex stone. This marvellous brooch deftly recreates the church's traditional marble floors, featuring a lozenge pattern dark and light Opal mosaic, within the golden frame of a Gothic Cathedral.


In 1914 Louis Comfort Tiffany, who was an accomplished stained glass window designer, reproduced his 'Four Seasons' on the cover of this 18K Gold Jewel Box encrusted with more than 100 Opals as well as tourmalines, sapphires and chrysoprases.

The geometrically designed Art Deco vanity case below is a mechanical marvel with sides parting to reveal miniature drawers to hold a lady's cosmetic needs; Tiffany & Co., c.1920; gold & Opal mosaic.

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This hammered golden cigarette case by Verdura & the renowned multi-talented artist  Salvador Dali was part of a collaborative collection in 1941.

Depicting a Medusa headed spider in a barren landscape. An Opal bodied beetle lurks on the border of this surrealistic yet functional piece.

A wonderful Tobacco Case by

Josef Hoffman of the Wiener

Werkstatte uses various

coloured stones including

several opals.

Sources & Image Credits:


Hollywood Jewels, Penny Proddow Debra Healy & Marion Fasel, 1992.


Hautehorlogerie.org, Precious Watch: When beauty meets functionality - Piaget.

Master Pieces of French Jewelry, Judith Price, 2006. (Tiffany Hexagonal Compact)

MAUBOUSSIN: JOAILLIER DE L'EMOTION 1827-2007, Marguerite de Cerval, 2007.

Rene Lalique: Exceptional Jewelry, 1890-1912, Yvonne Brunhammer, 2007.

Scavia Jewellery Italy, 2006.

The Jeweled Menagerie, Tennenbaum & Zapata, 2001.


(Jewel Box: Charles Hosmer Morse museum of American Art, Winter Park, Fl.)

Verdura: The Life & Work of a Master Jeweler, Patricia Corbett, 2002.

Wiener Werkstatte Jewelry, Hatje Cantz, 2008.


Sue-White opals29 June 2013
Dear Rainbow Serpent,
Thank you for your email and membership.
It is great to know that you are out there promoting Australia's National gemstone & NSW emblem.
Keep up the good work, I love your concept.
Sue White - Orana Glitz & Glamour Extravaganza Inc Assn.

15 march 2013
Hi Peter,
Colourful characters are key,
your Facebook page and the photos look like there are some fantastic people!
We loved the look of Tarzan of Opalton.
Gemma Brady - Boundless productions.tv

Alexander fink.PhysicsPHD opal28 Nov 2012
I would like to welcome your information page on opal,
with detailed information about nearly everything their is to know in a general term.
Alexander Fink PhD - Dept. of Physics La Trobe University

5 August 2010
Hi from another opal lover.
Just wanted to say I love your site, a wealth of information.
I always send people to your page for opal info.
Kind Regards
Sean Tapner - Planet Opal

8 july 2010
Dear Rainbow Serpent,
Will be recommending your website as a primary reference to 15 Macquarie Uni media students who will be doing a PR project for us as part of their assessment soon.
Best wishes
Renata - Opalminded

Opalminded recommend opalsinformation6 June 2010
Dear Rainbow Serpent, 
Greetings from Opal Minded In Sydney.
We are all very impressed with your website – one of the best things that has happened to this Industry for a long time. 
We would love to share it with the visitors to our website. 
Would you mind If we post with us links to your website, 
also on our facebook and twitter. 
Best wishes
Renata, John, Nelly, Fabrice and Summer

Fri, Apr 16, 2010 
Good Morning,
I have just found your wonderful website.
I produce a monthly e-newsletter which is circulated to the Tourism businesses in Coober Pedy and neighbouring stations plus the Info Centres around SA & the NT.
I wondered if I could use some of your Opal info in my October Edition (Opal Month), mainly the parts in your “About Opal” section – names, spiritual info etc.
I would obviously reference it to your website noting the address so others could read your site. 
Sandra Harris
Tourism Officer - Coober Pedy Information Centre

5 April 2010
I am wanting to use your site in an assignment as it is a superb example
of a site to use for a primary teaching unit on gemstones.
Many thanks,