With a heart of opal

Have you heard tales of Wood Opal?

Fabulous stories of must-be mythical forests filled with trees that have rainbows running through their veins.  Could there be any truth to this iridescent folklore?

opalized tree.jpg

Yes! It's a story of metamorphosis and the combination of two of Mother Nature's beautiful treasures. It begins with wood in the process of becoming petrified. Petrified wood is formed when part of a tree is buried by sediment and protected from oxygen and organisms. As water seeps into the earth, it picks up silica along the way. The silica-rich fluid filters into the cracks or porous areas of the wood. When the water eventually evaporates, the silica is left behind. Over the years this cycle repeats itself, over and over, until silica fills up the spaces completely and is transformed into opal.

Opal, unlike most other gemstones, does not have an ordered microscopic structure that forms a crystal. Instead, these opals are composed of silica spheres that refract light into dazzling color displays. An opal's color is determined by the diameter and spacing of the silica spheres. Smaller silica spheres have blue hues, while larger ones have red hues. The intensity of the color depends on the uniformity of the silica spheres.

The moral of the story? There is no difference between magic and science.  And Mother Nature rules them both.

The internet legend from Planet Opal.

The internet legend from Planet Opal.