Round Loose Fire Opals
Opals are beautiful stones that can be found in various places around the world. Precious, gem-quality opals are rare, and fire opals are among them. Round loose fire opals are generally yellow, orange, brown, or white in colour. They may not have the play of colour that is seen in some opals, but occasionally will have flashes of green. Natural round loose fire opals are excellent candidates for necklaces, earrings, and other jewellery that will not be as exposed to wear as rings. It is always possible to have a fire opal set in a ring though, as long as the setting is appropriate.Cabochon
Cabochons are shaped and polished with a flat back. It is fairly common to find natural loose cabochon fire opals. Since opals are fairly soft, the cabochon shape protects the stone and makes scratches less evident. This also ensures the play of light found in precious stones can be shown off.Faceted
While opals are often found as cabochons, it is possible to find them as faceted stones. Fire opals, in particular, are more frequently faceted as they often have the transparency that suits such preparation. When looking at faceted loose fire opals, keep in mind that weight can vary. You're more likely to get exactly what you want when you buy by size.Natural Stones
As with many gemstones, opals can be synthesised in a lab. These stones may be referred to as imitation or synthetic opals. They have very regular patches of colours. On the other hand, natural opals have irregular patterns and colours that cover the spectrum of possibilities.Care
Opals are delicate stones, but with proper care, can last a lifetime. They are quite soft and susceptible to scratching. The stones can also break when struck or even when ultrasonic jewellery cleaning machines are used. Opals also have a high water content and may crack, also known as craze, when dried out. Cleaning should be done with a soft cloth and water. Store your opals in a plastic bag with a small, damp cotton cloth to keep the moisture levels up.