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Stone of the month December 2023: Atacamaopal

Peace and quiet return, external life comes to a standstill and there is hardly a sign of life in nature. The last weeks of the year are a time of joy, but often also very hectic. We usually wish for more contemplation and leisure to look back on the year, take stock and dare to look to the future - what have we achieved, what do we want for the new year?

Atacama-Opal strengthens our enjoyment of contact with our fellow human beings. Fear of contact is reduced so that we can enjoy socializing. We are happy to contribute to the community with our skills and assets. If entanglements or difficulties arise, the neutral quality of the Atacama opal makes it easy to untangle them so that justice can prevail. The year ends full of friendship and love for all beings.

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Atacama opal - a false name?!

Strictly speaking, the name Atacama opal is wrong, because investigations by the University of Würzburg and the Institute for Gemstone Testing have shown that the material is not an opal; this would require significantly more silicon (Si) in the samples examined. But sometimes the gemstone market is faster than science and a name is already established - as happened, for example, with leopard skin jasper, which is actually a rhyolite, and with ocean jasper, which should more correctly be called ocean chalcedony.

Due to its intense color caused by Copper, Atacama opal immediately became known in the trade after the first rough stones appeared. The stone is also referred to as opal where it is found near the Atacama Desert, which gives it its name, although mineralogically and gemologically it is an Opalite-Chrysocoll-Chalcedony mixture

Where the Atacama opal is found

Atacama opal is found in the area of Copiapó and Paipote in the Región de Atacama (northern Chile). Mining has a long tradition in the region; since 1857 there has been a school of mining, a mineralogical museum and the first railroad line in South America. Gold and copper mines still form the economic backbone of the region today.

Atacama opal is mainly mined by pirquineros, the self-employed miners typical of Chile, in laborious manual work ("artisanal mining") and represents an important source of additional income.

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Medicinal use of the stone

The small deposits of Atacama opal are mainly processed into jewelry. For this reason, there are no reliable findings on the use of Atacama opal in gemstone healing. The individual mineralogical components provide initial indications of possible effects:

Opalite: sociability, good contact with fellow human beings

Chrysocolla: Balance, keeping a cool head

Chalcedony: openness, harmony, enjoyment (Copper-Chalcedony)