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Centuries after it was first discovered, the opal remains the undisputed Queen of Gems. A stone of incredible beauty and variety, with a background rich in myth, adventure, and intrigue, it is considered by many to be the most desirable, the most handsome, and the most precious of all gemstones. The first comprehensive book on the subject in over thirty years, The World of Opals is a complete guide to the science and history of these remarkable gems. It begins with a thorough examination of the physical properties and attributes of common and precious opals, with up-to-date information on opal formation, extraction, storage, and cutting. Next, it chronicles man’s involvement with the stone from 4000 B.C. to the present, following the opal through countless reversals of fortune and mythology as talisman, prognostic aid, patron stone of thieves, and bearer of bad luck. Readers will find fascinating details about the discovery, where-abouts, and value of famous opals, from such classic specimens as the Burning of Troy Opal to the Bonanza Opal and other more recent discoveries. Finally, the book surveys today’s major opal-producing areas and provides current information on opal occurrence worldwide. Punctuating the text are useful tables, extensive glossaries of opal types and opal-related terms, and beautiful photographs that capture the essence and mystery of this most exquisite stone. Accessible and authoritative, The World of Opals is a first-rate reference that will be consulted by mineral and gem enthusiasts for years to come.