The Iconic Australian Opal Is Making A Comeback

The Iconic Australian Opal Is Making A Comeback

The technicoloured treasure that is the opal possesses a special kind of magic that’s as enthralling as it is unique. In fact, due to its crystal structure, no two opals are the same, and no other gemstone contains as many different colours in a single stone as the opal does – it’s arguably the most special and diverse birthstone of all.

Throughout history, this kaleidoscopic stone is said to have many magical and healing powers. With the mesmerising spectrum of iridescent shades that move when caught in the light, the opal is said to represent loyalty – making it the perfect engagement ring – and it is believed to enhance confidence and self-esteem.

It’s no wonder its popularity continues to soar, both in Australia and around the world. “We don't follow trends, or what’s in ‘fashion’ because we like to do our own thing,” says Zena K’dor, Creative Director of House of K’dor. “But we’ve noticed that a lot more of our guests, both locally and globally, are requesting opals. They want uniqueness; they want to know that no other person in the world will have that particular gemstone. This is something you will only ever really have with an opal.”

Tarick K’dor, Director and owner of House of K’dor, would have to agree. “My appreciation for the opal has skyrocketed over the years and it grows every day. There is no other gemstone that comes close – what other stone contains that many colours that all work with each other?”

What makes the gemstone even more special is that it’s so unique to Australia. The country is home to roughly 90 per cent of the world’s opal deposits. “When I think of Australia and what Mother Nature produces, the opal instantly comes to mind,” says Zena. “We’re a proud Australian jewellery brand so opals are part of our DNA! However, prior to seeing Tarick’s latest incredible collection with the opal, I have to honest, I always had this idea that it was a bit touristy, a little old-fashioned. However, over the past couple of years, Tarick has really embraced the opal gem and we’ve both fallen in love with the mesmerising colours and patterns that you can only see in them. Of course, no two gems are the same – they are all unique and carry their own beauty. There’s something truly magical about the opal. Whether it’s white, black, one that reflects blue, red, patterns, each opal tells a beautiful and unique story.”

It’s the many vibrant colours of the opal that really draws people in – Tarick and Zena included. “I gravitate towards the vibration, the energy and the excitement behind colour,” says Zena. “That’s why I love sapphires and emeralds and working with different precious and semi-precious stones. But when I look at opals, they’re just a whole other level. We have one opal that looks like the feathers of a peacock, another that looks like the Northern Lights. They come in blues and greens and black and red!”

Does Tarick prefer to work with a particular colour? “There isn’t one opal colour I’m drawn to, although I do really like crystal opals with a white body. When you look into it, it’s like you’re looking into the universe, at the stars and the sky. Saying that, when you look at some blues and blacks and reds and you can see the mixture of colours and patterns, they all have their beauty. I hand-select each and every opal we use. I look for elements that are truly unique; for stones that sing. If I’m not happy with the gem, how can I expect a guest to be? I select stones that I love because then I know what I’m going to create with them to pass on to our guests will be appreciated.”

Interestingly, Zena wants the opals that are hidden in the depths of jewellery boxes around the country to be given a second lease of life too. “We may all have an opal that’s been passed down from a great grandmother, or grandmother, that we’ve left in the jewellery box, not wanting to touch because we don’t think it’s modern or contemporary. I would love to see those opals brought in to House of K’dor to be given a new lease of life. We can work with its unique colour, mix some metals and make it contemporary. The beauty about opals, and the reason they stand out above all the other gems, is they’re so multi-coloured. This means the opal can work with anything. It carries itself, and it also brings out the fire of all the other stones.”

Particularly when they’re in the hands of a master jeweller like Tarick K’dor. “I’m in awe of Tarick and the way he works with gemstones and mixes metals,” Zena says. “When he designs a piece around one, it really does bring out the beauty of the gem.”

“What I really love and admire about opals is the fact they come in so many different colours and every stone has multiple colours to it,” explains Tarick. “We generally cut an opal in its natural shape which allows us to be very creative with the design. We’re not bound by the typical diamond cuts – princess, round or brilliant – because with opals there’s many different free forms and that allows us to work with the gems. Together, with the colour, there’s so much flexibility and creativity.”

That’s why Zena and Tarick want people to see – really see – opals for what they truly are. “The shapes are so unique and often we will set them in their natural form, mixing metals and different gemstones. They remind me of a fairy tale – incredibly magical. There’s also no luxury item that symbolises Australia quite like an opal,” Zena explains. “They’re mesmerising, captivating and unique. I want to see everyone rocking an opal. I always say, people should pick a diamond, sapphire or emerald that sings to you. But when it comes to opals, you should choose the one that makes you dance.”

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