Mrs. Sell's Blog of Household Management

Archive for the tag “opal”

Pretty things: tumbled opal

In keeping with the long and glorious academic tradition of putting off writing a paper, I present for your edification:

“Tumbled Opal: What to Do With It”

For my birthday last month, I decided to splurge on something I’d been drooling over for a long time: an opal specimen.

opal specimen in chest

This isn’t jewelry; it’s basically a display piece because it has some crazing… Which I am totally okay with because it puts a phenomenal stone within my reach.

In addition to the fabulous stone, I scored a little parcel of tumbled opal pieces:

tumbled opal mirror outside1

Aren’t they amazing?

tumbled opal mirror outside2

Seriously, these are almost better than the bigger stones. (Click on the pictures to see the awesomeness even bigger! And then imagine I have a real camera…)

These are available as 100-gram parcels at 4th Dimension Gems on Etsy, and I created a variety of action shots to give a glimpse into the possibilities of owning your own little pile of gorgeousness. (For reference, the amount shown in my pictures is about 70 grams.*)

In addition to being scattered across a mirror, as shown above, I like pouring them into a tiny glass jar:

tumbled opal heart jar

Or piling them onto a clear glass candle holder:

tumbled opal glass dish2tumbled opal glass dish1

You can combine the two and put the candle holder on the mirror – best of both worlds!

tumbled opal glass dish on mirror

About the only thing you have to consider is that opals need plenty of direct light for the fire (or as my daughter calls it, the “rainbows”) to show up. I tried them in a clear glass votive holder, and I think it was a little too wide, and too much of the light was blocked:

tumbled opal votive jar

You can see the ones on top, but the ones underneath look dull. Plus, the texture on this particular candle holder distorts the visibility; I recommend something with plain, clear glass.

For example, a champagne flute:

tumbled opal champagne flute2

Or a martini glass:

tumbled opal martini glass1tumbled opal martini glass2

I love this display, but if you have cats or kids it’s probably not the most practical: champagne flute spilled onto a mirror:

tumbled opal flute spilled on mirror

Or, you can have the shop owner make you a chest for your treasure:

tumbled opal in chesttumbled opal chest opentumbled opal chest closed

My only caveat is this: if you have small children, they will have their fingers in these ALL THE TIME. So either put them behind glass, or up on a shelf, or get over it and start teaching your kids early to appreciate beautiful things. (I’m personally wavering between options 2 and 3.)

Other than that, I really don’t see how you can go wrong!


Tumbled opal parcels, an assortment of both cut and rough gemstones, as well as custom settings, are all available at 4th Dimension Gems on Etsy. This is the perfect time of year to consider investing in a beautiful stone for yourself or someone you love!


* This is what 70 grams of tumbled opal looks like; I have medium-ish hands, I guess?

tumbled opal in hand


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