Journal

quick guide to opal

quick guide to opal

Opal is divided into two groups, precious opal and common opal. The essential difference between the two is that precious opal has ‘play of colour’ and common opal doesn't. Play of colour is the phenomenon where a rainbow of colours flash across the stone as you move it. This is most likely what you are picturing in your head when you think of an opal. Common opal on the other hand has no rainbow flashes and can have a base colour of white, grey, brown, orange, green, blue or pink. Almost all the worlds precious opal comes from Australia. Precious...

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maritime tattoo lore

maritime tattoo lore

Sailing culture is rich in tradition and superstition, and woe betide those who think they can ignore the old ways. Like the time we set sail from Kourou, French Guiana, on what turned out to be a Friday. Never leave for a voyage on a Friday is an old sailing tradition. We encountered some horrible and completely unexpected standing waves when exiting the river mouth at which point we realised it was Friday and we speedily dropped the anchor at the Salut islands just offshore for the night to “end” our voyage and restart it on Saturday. Still we had...

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arabian pearls

arabian pearls

Recently the world’s oldest pearl was discovered in an excavation in the Persian Gulf near Abu Dhabi. The tiny pink pearl is only 3mm, which may seem insignificant, but it provides us with evidence that the Arabian pearl industry stretches back an incredible 8000 years. Harvesting natural pearls is quite an undertaking. Pearl boats would go out to the natural pearl beds for months at a time and the divers would do up to 200 dives a day, descending to the bottom and collecting as many shells as they could carry back to the surface on a single breath. With...

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