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Mexican fire opal grades

Hello all

i had been following the thread on Peruvian Opals, real, fake dyed
and so on, i am wondering does the same apply to the Mexican fire
opal that is in yellow color range? also the Pink Peruvian. there
seems to be a lot of the yellow material on eBay, not cheap but not
expensive either, I am now wondering if it is just dyed agate, I had
bought some did some one mention the differences in weight ? is that
how you know fake fire opals from the real ones? and what of the
pink Peruvian have they been dyeing that too?any one care to

Hratch Atelier
Hratch Babikian

My name is Lee Horowitz, M. Ed, CAGS, Gemologist of Peru Blue Opal
Ltd. My partner and miner is Marcel Ryzenberg who also runs our
cutting operations in Lima Peru. First the pink peruvian opal can be
sometimes dyed but for the most part its is not. There are 3 grades
of Peruvian Opal: 1rst quality, second-third quality and mine run. It
is mined in ICA in Peru. The first quality is even colro good top
color for cabochons. The second -third quality has more uneveness of
color and more matrix in it. Theer may also be colro striation as
real opal will have color straiation or uneveness of color due to the
coloring. IN the case of pink opal it is colored by a clay that
surrounds it or it is usually found in, a mineral called pedigorskit
( I hope I am spelling it correctly) Peruvian pink opal has a
hardness of 6 verus pervuian blue opal which is 5. 5 hardness making
the pink opal some of the hardest opal in the world. Some pink opal
also comes from mexicao and some other places in the world. Some of
the very top material is saturated with color actually making it
reddish. These are rare pieces, There also has been a littel drusy
found in the pink opal. but mainly for collectors and in small areas.
The pink opal is high in sislcia in which this opal is almost a pink
chalcedony but it is opal and has opal cleavage. There is no water
problem with pink opal ever and its stabile. Ther is some dying but
littel done and such is done overseas usually in India or China. Top
colro pink opal is expensive rough materials. Mine run pink opal is
whtish-brownish-greyish with slight pink coloring and washed out
color usually made into beads and sold in tonnages overseas This
material can be dyed. We believe eventually as top color dissapers
on world markets this stone will go the way of blue opal with mine
runs being totally dyed and many imitations of top color.

Regarding mexcian fire opal yellow. Alot of Mexican fire opal and
other oapsl can have watr problems. Even blue opals can have water
problems. THis means the opal is not dryed sufficiently and looses
water from inside the opal. It can crack or carze as it drys and loos
water. It also can loose water and turn opaque eventually and become
ugly brownish in colro to whitish as it looses water. These are
hydration proiblkems and there can be some cures for them in rough
and finsihed stones. It ios also found the same water or hydration
problems in some chalcediny and aagtes and gem silcia chryscolla (
this is a whole other area)

In Peru ther is a golden or also called a honey or butterscotch
opal. Very beautifull materiasl transparent to translusent but miners
do not mine it any more beacuse much of it had water or dhyration
problems. Fire opal from Mexico can have this problem. In addtion,
theer are orange agates or yellwo agates and chalcedony cut and
misrepresented for fire opals. This can be determined by weight as
agate and chalcedony are much heavier then opal. Also ther can be
dye. Soem clear transparent opal can be dyed various colors or
diffused. Some acetone can usally test for dye in a stone.

Yes, Mexican fire opals are usually graded by the miners in Mexico.
Prices are very high. African fire opals and Eithopian fire opal is
far cheaper in price and usually larger pieces. Alot of true fire
opal is rare now. Fire opal is a crystal opal that actually has
different colors inside the stone or a color play of fire inside a
yellow, white, green, or red crystal base… Much of fire opal today
has no “fire” in the stone and is a colored crystal opal. IN past
times this is actually lower garde materials. but in todays markets
this material is sought after.

I do many lectures concerning “Gemstones of Peru” We have done hands
on demonstrations of rough, cut, beads, and finsiehd products for
many groups including the GIA Alumni Society in Washington DC, The
Washington Gem and Mineral Society, The Greater Washington Bead
Society and many more. Our top blue opal including rough, cut,
dendrtic and picture blue opal, beads, facated beads, and, 925
sterling are currentyl on display until about September 30th at the
Natioanl Bead MUseum in Washington DC. Pink Opal was also on display
for the Washington Gem and Mineral Society Show as well.

Some of our new and exciting stones include a new find of what we
believe is blue aragonite which looks like larimar and is sodl by
some miners in Peru as such. but is very nice. We also are testing
for other materials. Other newer materiasl include banded pink
rhodcrosite, leopard stone with super pattern ( abrecca), bubblegum
pink rhodonite, black jade and much more.

Lee Horowitz M.Ed, CAGS, Gemologist
Peru Blue Opal Ltd

The pink opal is opalized Palygorskite. Palygorskite is a manganese
clay mineral.

There is some pink opal by the way that is reddish in color fromm
Peru that we have cut at our factory in Peru. In addtion there have
been rvery rare instances of drusy pink opal. This is mainly vvery
small areas and rare in the pink opals.

Lee Horowitz
Peru Blue Opal Ltd
Horowitz Co-KCIG Co Ltd

Fire opal is a crystal opal that actually has different colors
inside the stone or a color play of fire inside a yellow, white,
green, or red crystal base 

You defined Precious Opal, Not “Fire Opal”. Fire Opal is yellow to
red, commonly Orange base. And, contrary to Wikipedia, may or may not
have the color play we call “fire”. I thought “pros” knew better!
Most do.

It reminds me of a time I went to The University of Washington
Dental Center. The instructor told me that the students kept calling
Bacteria “bugs” and it was a misnomer that must be stopped. Well, it

It continues with fire opal/precious opal. But in this case the
teacher is supporting the bad definition.

Just a pet-peeve of mine, this misnomered gemstone thing. Maybe it’s
a translation thing. I’ll give you that, but in English…

TL Goodwin
Lapidary/Metalsmith (without any letters behind my name)