By Ase Anderson in London
Glowing with all the colours of the rainbow, opals are one of the most infinitely fascinating stones. And there is no shortage of magnificent, opulent opal jewellery to fall in love with this season.
Almost all of the world's fine opals originate from the Australian outback. The constantly changing play of colour of the stones is known as "opalising", and the combination of colours can vary greatly from one stone to the next.
The gems on a Louis Vuitton necklace and earrings from the Acte V high jewellery collection look like miniature maps of the world, with islands of yellow, green, pink and orange floating in a light blue sea. The necklace features a whopping 87.92 carat Australian opal set off to perfection by tourmaline, sapphire and two star-cut diamonds.
Acte V marks the fifth high jewellery collection from the luxury powerhouse and is inspired by the maison's iconic "V" monogram. Extraordinary stones are at the heart of the collection, each of which is selected for its superior colour, cut and clarity.
Surrounded by the sparkle of 1,699 brilliant-cut white diamonds, the beautiful colours on the opal dial of the Extremely Piaget watch really come to the fore. Housing a Piaget 56P quartz movement, this high jewellery watch is the ultimate in both beauty and function and will no doubt receive more than its fair share of attention at the Biennale des Antiquaires, where the 70s-inspired Extremely Piaget collection will be debuted in its entirety.
The colour spectrum that these spectacular gemstones cover is quite amazing. The opals in Chaumet's Lumières d'Eau collection, also created for the Biennale des Antiquaires, glisten with a pale, almost iridescent, wash of colour. The subtle hues of white opals are offset by the intense violet of the sapphires, which surround the centre stones in this exquisite suite of Chaumet high jewellery.
A Boucheron ring from the French maison's Paris Biennale collection, Fleur des Indes, was inspired by the water and coloured pools situated in the grounds of India's ancient palaces. The stones in the collection, including this opal, have been specifically chosen because their radiance and shimmer mimic the reflections seen on the water's surface.
Dark or light, pale or bright, the wonderful versatility of the opal is key to its enduring appeal. As the darker evenings start to draw in, what could be better than losing yourself in a technicolour world of opal jewellery?