How to Choose an Opal

By Dan Hakari  

One of the most unique gems in the world, opals, unlike other gems, can reflect colors of the rainbow by refraction due to the silica inside the stone. In addition, these gems are commonly found as; well, opaque thus giving them the ability to be a canvas for the play of colors. With these features, opals are like tiny capsules of the night sky with play of color acting as glittering stars.

For those looking to acquire some of these enchanting stones, opals can be a very personal experience as every opal is different and unique to the buyer. High value opals might be meaningless to you if you do not like the colors at play on the stone.

Here some general information and tips when you're out on your adventure to finding the perfect opal for you.

Black opals are the most expensive type of opal gems because the dark body tone which helps enhance the play of colors. Rare and precious, a high quality black opal with excellent plays of color can be worth more than all but the finest diamonds.

Crystal opals are the second most expensive and does have some transparency that makes them unique. The most common and least expensive are white opals; their creamy body tone does at time distract the shine of the colors.

Sometimes considered a class of their own, fire opals have some transparency but do not have any play of colors. Found in hues of orange to orange-red colors, fire opal stones are commonly cut into traditional gem cut facets.

The last, but definitely not least, are boulder opals. Boulder opals are basically dark ironstone with thin layer of opal on the surface. The opal veins on the ironstone can make interesting designs with amazing play of colors.

Doublets and triplets are man-made that consist of a thin opal that is glued on a dark ironstone or sandstone. Generally, very cheap, doublet and triplet are used for jewelry as the back can be hidden. Only difference between the two is that triplets have an extra layer of plastic or glass of protection.

Opals from Welo, Ethiopia - newly discovered deposits - are generally cheaper than those from Australia. Although slightly cheaper, black opals from Ethiopia are just as stunning as those from Australia.

For those looking value when choosing the color of play, the order goes as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Red being the most expensive, while violet being the least expensive.

Opals with a single bright flash of color is more valued than those with many dull flashes of color, while those that have the whole surface covered with good play of colors are highly sought after and expensive.

To properly view an opal, you must rotate the stone in your fingers to see all the angles that a flash of color can display. The price is determined by all the angles and not just the best angle. Although, the best angle will contribute greatly to the pricing. If you can't view the opal in person, try to find a vendor that has video for viewing.

In addition to plays of color, opal gems can have patterns that will add a lot of value and beauty to the gem. Most patterns have some sort of alternating play of colors on the surface. The most rare and expensive pattern is the harlequin pattern; a pattern of alternating flashes of color that resembles a checkerboard.

As for jewelry, opal gems are suited for pendants and necklaces, due to their soft nature, are easily damaged by an accidental bump into a hard surface. However, do not let this issue hinder your love for rings, bracelets and other jewelries with opals set in them.

Five Things to Look For When Buying a Rolex

By Adam O'Connor  

You are a man among men. You command respect. People admire you for the things you do. A man that desires and gets nothing but the best should have the best timepiece ever made.

That timepiece would be a Rolex. And you deserve the real thing and not some good looking' fake that you picked up for about $700.
With all the hype about Rolex watches, there has been a surge in the replica Rolex industry. In fact, there aren't many days that go by without a few spam emails in my inbox trying to get me to buy a fake Rolex or other Swiss-made replica luxury watch.

This article was written to help guys like you purchase the Rolex watch that you've been wanting and just haven't had the time to research enough to know you're not getting scammed. Rolex dealers, master watchmakers, and yes, fake makers, have provided us some helpful tips that could save you both big bucks and big heartaches.

1. Only an authorized dealer can sell a brand new Rolex watch with a factory warrantee. There are no exceptions to this!

2. Straight bands are good bands and kinked bands are bad. First off, if the bracelet doesn't obviously match the watch, move on down to the next dealer. The bracelet can tell you whether that watch is a real or a fake. Pick up the watch and hold it over a soft surface with the watch facing down. Look at the links in the bracelet. Are they hanging nice and smooth or are they all kinked up? Those bracelet links may stretch a bit over time, but they just don't kink. If the bracelet is kinked, it's probably a fake.

3. One of the most telling aspects of Rolex fakes is that the second hand "ticks" second by second around the dial instead of running smoothly as it would on a real Rolex watch.

4. Another notable feature of a genuine Rolex is the bubble-like date window that magnifies the date on the GMT, Submariner and other models. If the date number appearing in that window or the magnifying bubble itself are crooked or a little off center, you are looking at a fake.

5. Genuine Rolex timepieces have a Hologram-encoded sticker on the back of the watch. There is reference number unique to the watch and above is a hologram Rolex crown logo. While fake Rolexes might have stickers on the back, they're usually not true holograms and don't change appearance when rotated or viewed from different angles.

If you want to order a used Rolex online; to avoid being swindled, read these tips:

1. Check the Web site's address and make sure it ends in .com or something else familiar. Also make sure that the website isn't hosted by a free domain company like Geocities or Tripod.

2. When buying from EBay, always check that sellers rating and read some of their most recent feedback. Send multiple emails with questions about the item. Where did it come from? What is the serial number? When was it last serviced? Is it keeping good time? If they don't respond, they are not your seller. There will always be another seller with another used Rolex that will work perfectly for you.