The Correlation between Play-of-Color Effect and SiO2 Cavities Size of Australian Blue Opal
Its play-of-color effect of Australian opal makes it unique and much more precious than any other gemstones in the world. More than 50 Australian opals were chosen to conduct the experiments, including boulder and black opals with blue-green to blue-purple color. Spectropotometer Color i5 was used to analyze the color of opal samples with CIE L*a*b* uniform color space. Dominant wavelength was put into comparison with hue angle. SEM and AFM were the main means to analyze the internal structure of opal samples, and the diameter and size of cavities of SiO2 were measured and discussed. It is revealed that the hue angle of blue-purple opal is 302.15° with 449nm as its dominant wavelength, and so the size of SiO2 cavities in the sample is about 155.32nm; the hue angle of blue opals is between (256°, 286°) with the dominant wavelength between (471nm, 485nm), and so their size of SiO2 cavities is between (154.35nm, 182.54nm); the hue angle of blue-green opal is between (183°, 213°) with the dominant wavelength between (489nm, 500nm) and so their size of SiO2 cavities is between (172.95nm, 193.66nm). Besides, the diameter and size of SiO2 cavities were analyzed against the dominant wavelength, hue angle, lightness, and saturation to reveal their correlation. It is indicated that the diameter and size of SiO2 cavities are in positive correlation with the dominant wavelength, but negative correlation with the hue angle. As the diameter and size of SiO2 cavities grow, the dominant wavelength increases but the hue angle decreases. Also they are in positive correlation with lightness but their correlation with saturation was not discovered.
Yiwang Bao, Danyu Jiang, Li Tian and Jianghong Gong
Y. Guo et al., "The Correlation between Play-of-Color Effect and SiO2 Cavities Size of Australian Blue Opal", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 492, pp. 366-369, 2012