By Lauren Elizabeth
Blog entry for the month of May. An update about our business and a discussion about opals and opalite. Opalite being my personally favorite man made stone.
Business Diary update:
So back in April we had our first local market booth.
It was a complete success. Honestly, it was more successful then I could have ever imagined. Going into our first market I had mentally prepared for failure. I was putting my art (jewelry) out of display for everyone to see with a price tag. Would people reject my style or love it? They loved it. It was a total rush I wasn’t expecting and made me feel as if my dream of owning my own business was more achievable than ever. I was so excited I signed up for the next market in May at the same venue.
It is easy to find joy in success, however, it is harder to find joy in failure. The May market was defiantly a failure. From a huge storm the night before, to raining off and on all day of the market. And I paid to sit there and watch the few people who came walk by my tent, or worse come in and not buy anything. I know this is usually the case, but I guess because my first market went so well. I just knew I was going to at least break even. Again, that was definitely not the case. Not even close.
Now this isn’t me complaining. I was so grateful to be there. To have the opportunity to be there. To have my mom, my fiancé, and my future mother-in law to be there to help me. But it would be a lie to say it wasn’t disheartening. To have little bits of hope and so much hard work spread across a cheap purple table cloth you bought on Amazon and have so many people walk by and not even want to look at it. It sucked.
If an opal is a prized gem, I didn’t feel like an opal. I felt like opalite, a cheap intimidation of what I was aspiring to be. A successful business owner.
So what is opalite:
According to Gemology.com “The name "opalite" is used for a wide variety of man-made materials. Many of them would be properly labeled "imitation opal" or "opal simulant" in a retail setting. They do not have the same chemical composition and physical properties as natural opal; instead, they simply look like natural opal.”
This is very interesting because unlike many simulated gemstones on the market, there is nothing about opalite that compares to an opal other than it kind of looks like one. This is very different from like Moissanite. Moissanite is a diamond simulant made of silicon carbide. Silicon carbide (SiC), also known as carborundum is a hard chemical compound containing silicon and carbon. A diamond is made almost entirely of carbon. Because of this it is very difficult to tell the difference between Moissanite and a diamond. In fact, it’s so difficult, jewelers have to use special testing tools to tell the difference.
So back to what is opalite? It can be a made with a wide variety of materials from glass to resin. There is no exact material because essentially all opalite is a marketing term for something that looks like an opal or sometimes what looks like a moonstone.
So what is an opal then?
Well according to GIA an “Opal is the product of seasonal rains that drenched dry ground in regions such as Australia’s semi-desert “outback.” The showers soaked deep into ancient underground rock, carrying dissolved silica (a compound of silicon and oxygen) downward. During dry periods, much of the water evaporated, leaving solid deposits of silica in the cracks and between the layers of underground sedimentary rock. The silica deposits formed opal.”
(1) Example White Opal
This is very different from anything man made with glass, don’t you think?
It is very different. The best quality opals (to me) look like small galaxy’s contained into tiny cut stones. It’s truly breath taking. I find opals to be like sunsets. Impossible to truly capture all their beauty in a picture.
So why am I choosing to write this blog about opalite instead of something as magnificent as an opal. Why if an opal is a prized gem, do I compare my feelings to opalite, a very cheap intimidation of what I am aspiring to be. And if I feel like an opal is prized compared to opalite, why is it my favorite man made gem?
That is because opalite is something that truly speaks to me at this moment in my life. God creates us all like an opal, taking many different bits and elements to create each and every one of us. Completely unique works of art. Opalite is man-made. It looks like one thing but is another. Like the theater masks, both happy and sad. In one light is looks like what is it attempting to intimidate but when you hold it up to the light is it something completely different.
(2) Opalite with a solid background.
(3) Opalite with a bright light source behind it.
Opalite is my favorite man-made gem because it looks one way, light milky blue, intimidating an opal’s main blue coloring in a way but when you look at a bright light source through it, it becomes a brilliant yellow.
As a small business in its first bloom (first year) I feel like we are channeling opalite. On the outside we have many of the same properties as other jewelry business. Just a small booth at a small town market selling bracelets. But if you look at us deeper, from another light we are so much more. We are different or at least we are trying to be. We are creating ourselves to be something new.
So while our second market was hard, I am not discouraged. I know we are something special and that those who saw us Saturday only saw as in one light but it is when you really look at us that our something special shines. And Monkey’s Mojo is very special. We are not cheap. We are different. We are both an opal and opalite. Special in all our ways.
The proud and successful owner of Monkey’s Mojo
(2) by Lauren Elizabeth
(3) by Lauren Elizabeth