Fun facts about opals from Honduras

Fun facts about opals from Honduras

Currently and readily available in the opal mines in the west of the country are black, white, fire, crystal, black matrix and dendritic opal. However, there are other places in the country where opal is thought to be found.

How do Opals of Honduras compare to Opals from other countries?

Opals are hard to compare to one another, be that from the same country or the same mine. To the eyes of the beholder, there is no opal equal to another. They are all unique and there are opals with astounding color, play of color, and incredible patterns.That is the reason we love them so much!  Here is what the scientists have to say:

“The black opal of Honduras is hosted in a volcanoclastic rock, is amorphous (opal-A), produces intense play of color and is characterized by pleochroism and sharp birefringence”. (Source: Nanostructures and microinfrared behavior of black opal from Gracias, Honduras; Viti, Cecilia; Gemmi, Mauro, Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie - Abhandlungen Band 186 Heft 1 (2009)  This scientific finding, supports the evidence of the existence of black opal with intense play of color in Honduras which among other factors is a key element to determine opal beauty, price and value.

We have sold black opals (body one N2-N4) both with play of color and with dendrites - not seen elsewhere-, as well as fire opal combined with white opal in the same stone with black mother rock. Honduras also offers stones with fossils. In our small collections we pride ourselves to have several with fossilized conch. The crystal opal we have worked with is not hydrophane – it does no absorb water and is stable with regards to its colors.

Unique in Honduran opal mines is the black matrix opal. It does not need any dye to make its beautiful colors appear. There are different levels of quality and top- quality black matrix opal is hard to come by. Black matrix opal is porous and might need stabilizing so that it is less vulnerable to wear and tear. However,we prefer not to as we favour natural untreated material.

Apparently, Honduras has the oldest known opal mines of the continent. It is a fact that Honduran opals were well known to Spanish colonialists. Local oral history indicates that Honduran opals can be found in various jewels of European royal houses. This means that although at this moment in time Honduran opals have a marginal presence in the international market, their quality and beauty has been appreciated for hundreds of years.