Inspired by the world around him, our founder Gurhan Orhan incorporates materials from all over the globe into his work. Each and every one of GURHAN’s pieces is designed to tell a story — not just of the collection they stem from, but of the materials from which they’re formed. This is evident across all of our collections, but amongst the most notable is our work with opals. Using these precious stones from three different corners of the world, each opal we use tells its own story with just the flash of its surface.
Hand picked by our artisans, each one of our opals boasts their own special properties that makes them uniquely fit for one of our 24k gold or sterling silver jewelry pieces. Our choice to work with such a wide range of opals allows us to create distinct jewelry that feels powerful and bespoke, leaning into the individual beauty that each stone has to offer. Playing on the legend and lore surrounding this stone — the Arabs believed opals fell from the sky in lightning strikes, the Greeks wearing opals to ward off disease — we harness the power of opals for the modern woman.
To get such an opalescent, wide range of opals, GURHAN unearths a variety of stones from Australia, Ethiopia and Mexico, each one with their own distinguished properties. As you browse our site, you’ll notice the wide range of colors and shines, so we created this guide to help you distinguish the different gems.
The Beauty of Australian Opals
Iridescent, blue and fiery, Australian ‘precious’ opals are the kind of opals that you immediately picture when someone mentions this lustrous stone. The reason for that is probably because 95-percent of the world’s opals are sourced from Australia — the traditional opals mentioned above coming from the province of South Australia. However, this continent also boasts the incredibly valuable Black Opals, found in New South Wales, and known for their brilliant, dark coloring. Not necessarily solid black, but boasting more vibrant, iridescent tones, the Australian Black Opal is one of the most desireable — and expensive — opals in the world.
The Magic Of Mexican Opals
Famous for its red and orange coloring, the Mexican ‘Fire’ Opal is unlike any opal you’ve ever seen. Despite its fiery color, the Aztec’s believed this unique gem was created in the heavens, and was believed to fill your soul with happiness. While Mexican Fire Opals don’t have the sparking iridescence of a typical ‘precious’ opal, their bright orange and red coloring are equally desirable and valuable in today’s market. The Mexican Opal is also one of the few opals that can be faceted, as some stones have a beautiful transparency to them that you just don’t find in other opals.
Newfound Ethiopian Opals
Opals were only discovered in Northern Ethiopia 20-something years ago, flooding the market with their beautiful stones that range from brown, red and orange to yellow and even traditional white. More recently – a decade ago – in the town of Wollo, another kind of opal with much more color-flashing and body color was discovered and named after the town. These ‘Wollo Opals’ are renowned for their flashy clear, white, yellow orange and brown coloring — the brightest orange opals gaining the moniker of ‘Wollo Fire Opals.’
When you choose an opal, you dare to be different. Each wildly unique and stunning in their own right, GURHAN hand-picks every stone to ensure you hold a piece of jewelry that feels destined to be your own. Now, you can shop our curated collection of opals from around the world here to find just the piece you’ve been looking for.