The round stone rested like a drop of water on the smooth velvet fabric spread atop the glass case. The convex surface gleamed. As I moved my head an inch to the left or right, I watched as the colors transformed – shimmery greens darkening to cobalt blues, orange streaks fading to vibrant yellows. But the fiery reds warming the jewel with their flames didn’t waver. They stretched their tips through the cool azure waters, their flames popping golden sparks into the chartreuse and royal seas swirling the outer layer of stone.
Smack dab in the center pumped the ruby heart, adorned with its finest golden strands. From there, life pulsated the passionate fire and blood. Despite the heat emanating within the rounded jewel, yearning to break free from the glassy surface, the stone was cool to touch. Polished and smooth.
As I marveled at its contradictions, I thought of the miner, imagining his reaction when he discovered the precious, perfect piece, breaking it from the rocky capsule where it had been contained in the earth for hundreds of years. How startled he must have been to hold this peacock of the earth in his rough, dirt-covered hands, turning it this way and that to glimpse the small world bursting inside. Was there a gasp that parted his lips? A moment of revelation? Appreciation?
This stone deserved its own display – to be featured for the world to see and admire. Instead, it would eventually be plated in gold, silver, or platinum and strung around some withered, wrinkled neck for two hours on special occasions – dinner parties, afternoon teas, or anniversaries – and then sealed away in combination safes or vaulted security boxes. Hidden. Undeservedly so.
How sad to be a special object of beauty and resigned to that life – a mere accessory when the outfit was just right for it. To hold a tertiary place when it deserved the prime role.
The opal flickered in the light, oblivious to its small part in our world.
– Written by Miss A on July 17, 2011