John Wade and the Opal Mines

Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2012 at 1:22 pm by

Being that is it October, which happens to be Opals birthstone I wanted to touch base on how my father became a jeweler. My dad, John Wade began his career at an early age of 12 while visiting Opal mines of Virginia Valley Nevada. It was there on his Uncle Charlie’s Opal Mine that he learned the beginning tips on how to cut and polish stones. As a 12 year old he was fascinated with the processes of jewelry making and as he matured it became more apparent to his family, schoolteachers, and peers that this was his calling, especially long before he had realized it. After failing miserably one semester of college in Electronics Engineering, my grandparents suggested that he pursue the study of jewelry making. He took their advice and went to Gem City College in Quincy, IL. In 1977 he graduated from Gem City College. Who would have thought that hanging out at his Uncles Opal Mines would be the influence he needed to grow into one of the most sought after designers in Eastern North Carolina. 


Since it is October and I know many of you would like to know some history on your birthstone, I wanted to start out with that awesome story that is so close to my family’s hearts. Now onto the more informational stuff…


Ancient Romans know opal as “The Queen of Gems,” nature’s gemstone kaleidoscope. Its myriad light-refracting prisms are formed as countless silica particles settled in fissures in host rock. Opal occurs in many different forms. Some opals, like Peruvian Pink opal, or Peruvian Blue opal, exhibit no “play of color.” White “crystal,” semi-black, black and boulder are the main groupings of “color-play” opal. Black Opal, in its finest full-color array, is among the most highly valued of all phenomenal gems.


The second birthstone also recognized as Octobers stone is the Tourmaline. Tourmaline is one of the most diverse gemstones available. It possesses a dazzling array of colors. Moreover, there are bi-colored and tri-colored tourmalines where two or more colors appear side by side in the same gemstone.


Not only is this an October birthstone, it also was chosen as the gift for the 8th wedding Anniversary. Tourmaline is considered a gemstone of enlightenment and resolution. Believed to foster compassion, composure and reflection, tourmaline reveals the most captivating characteristics of those who wear it.

We carry many lines of jewelry with tourmalines and opals in them. We also have an abundance of loose stones as well. Stop in and grab that gift you have been searching for! We would love to help you pick out a piece of jewelry or design one for that special someone in your life!

Written by Chalea Wade
Director of Marketing and Advertising