mexican fire opal stones

If you are looking for a glamorous addition to your accessories wardrobe, you can’t go past the dazzling color and gorgeous shine of the Mexican fire opal. This alluring stone makes for striking statement jewelry and can help to add some fire to your style. To help you learn how to use Mexican fire opals in your statement jewelry making, here is some helpful information and design inspiration.

What Are Mexican Fire Opals?

Mexican fire opals are stunning iridescent stones that are a rare and highly prized opal specimen. They are a striking yellow, red and orange translucent coloring due to their high iron content.

Unlike the well-known blue opals, which have veins of color running through a white or opaque body, the fire opal is typically uniform in color and can be found with or without fiery veins of color. Those with veins usually demand a higher market value, as opposed to simple translucent stones.

For naturally occurring fire opals, Mexico is the largest mined source. However, they can also be found throughout Central America, the USA and Australia. Unfortunately, like all naturally mined opals, they are very fragile and are prone to cracking and brittleness if they are not cared for properly.

To compensate for the brittleness of natural fire opals, they are often grown in laboratories from a combination of silica and either plastic or resin to produce stronger stones with the telltale opal coloring and vein structure. These artificial opals, known as simulant fire opals, can be either faceted or non-faceted and cut to any size or shape, which makes them perfect for jewelry making.

Mexican Fire Opal Meaning

The Mexican fire opal holds special meaning in Mexican culture, as it is said to possess healing properties for the kidneys and lower back, as well as healing heartache and traumatic memories. The fire opal symbolizes joy in the heart and is often recommended for people who are shy, as it can boost self-confidence, making them a fantastic material to create jewelry with to add some fun and playfulness into your wardrobe.

How to Care for Your Fire Opals

Opals are among some of the softest gemstones used for jewelry. As opals contain water, they can dry out over time, so it is important to care for them properly.

Clean your opals with mild detergent and a soft brush. Never use bleach or chemical cleaners, as they can damage the structure of the opal and alter the hue and luster. Ultrasonic cleaning should also never be used, since the vibrations can crack the stones. When storing your opals, do so with a damp piece of cloth to maintain the opal’s humidity.

Finally, if you are jewelry making with genuine natural stones, avoid high-impact pieces, such as rings and bracelets. Or, set them in a secure bezel setting. Best of all, wearing your natural stones helps to keep the humidity content high and preserve the integrity of the opal.

mexican fire opal pendant

Fire Opal Statement Jewelry

Natural fire opals are extremely rare and highly fragile, making them notoriously difficult as a design material. However, manmade or simulant stones, which are created in a lab, often have the same beautiful display of colors as natural opals, but are made with a composite of silica and resin to make them more structurally sound. This increased durability allows for easier shaping and drilling of the fire opals without the risk of damaging the stone, which offers more creative design options for jewelry makers.

The bold color of the fire opal makes them ideal for creating statement jewelry, and you can find Mexican fire opals cut in an assortment of shapes, sizes and in a multitude of fiery colors to suit your style. And, with the high structural integrity of simulant fire opals, you don’t need to limit yourself to low-impact pieces, such as earring and necklaces. For some inspiration on how you can create jewelry with Mexican fire opals, here are some fiery statement piece ideas to ignite your inner fashionista.

Use Contrasting Colors

The bold, bright colors of the fire opal pair well with gemstones beads that have equally bold contrasting colors. The contrast helps to highlight the iridescence of the opal without losing its luster to make the stone the hero of the piece. Try pairing yellow fire opals with pink topaz, or even orange fire opals with purple amethyst.

Bigger Is Better

For a truly stunning statement piece, don’t be afraid to select larger stones and let them stand on their own. Using faceted Mexican fire opals as focal beads set in a simple setting, such as in a ring or earrings, allows the beauty of the fire opal to shine brighter.

Use a metal that won’t pale in comparison to the gem. Try white gold or platinum, as opposed to classic gold. Or, for a traditional look, try hammered copper or brass.

mexican fire opal gemstone

Go Long

As fire opal can be cut to any shape or size, you will often find simulant fire opals sold in long strands of beads. These smaller, but equally dazzling beads, are ideal for creating a statement longline necklace.

Try creating a stunning ombre pattern to mimic the fire of the opal. String graduating shades of fire opals onto your necklace for a statement piece that glows like real fire.

Final Thought

Mexican fire opals make a bold statement in any wardrobe. Try some of these fun design ideas to add some heat to your everyday style.