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Caption: Opal, close-up. Opal is an amorphous hydrated silicon dioxide (Si02.nH20). It is usually deposited in fissures and voids inside a variety of host rocks, most of volcanic origin. Opal can have beautiful soft colouring and is highly sought after as a precious stone in jewellery. The piece shown here is the polished surface of a thin slab that was artificially composed by immersing small morsels of opal in a resinous binder. Magnification: x1.8 when printed 10 centimetres wide.

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Keywords: abstract, amorphous, artificially composed, close-up, composite, detail, earth science, gem, gemstone, geology, hydrated, hydrous silicon oxide, iridescent, mineral, mineralogy, multi-coloured, opal, polished, precious, precious stone, si02, silica, silicon dioxide, slab, stone, surface, thin

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