Opal is one of the most distinctive stones to be mined from the earth, displaying a dazzling array of colours and patterns until any other gem.
Opal is comprised of microscopic stacked spheres of silica that diffract light into a vibrant array of colours. Dating back to the Cretaceous Period, most Opal is believed to have begun forming over 100 million years ago.
Australia produces upwards of 97% of the world's supply of Opal and is famous for the beautiful variety of stones.
TYPES OF OPAL
Black Opal is the rarest and most valued Opal. It is characterised by a “play of colour” within a dark or black body, which enhances the vibrancy of the colours of the stone.
Black Opals mainly come from the Lightning Ridge mine in NSW.
Crystal Opal is transparent to semi-transparent, with “see-through” body colour. Crystal Opal can be light or dark and tends to have an exceptional play of colour.
Crystal Opal is mainly mined in Coober Pedy in South Australia.
Boulder Opal is Opal that forms in cracks and voids of rock. It is mined with the host rock as part of the formation of the gem and can come in light or dark colours.
Boulder Opal is mainly found in specific locations over a wide area of Western Queensland.
Things to consider with Opal jewellery
The Australian Opals we use in our jewellery are all sourced directly from local miners working in Opal mines across Australia. We only buy and use solid Opal stones of top quality and colour in our jewellery. Each stone is hand-selected and only the best make the cut.
Factors that determine the value of an opal:
- The type of Opal (Black Opal is the rarest and thus most valuable)
- The brilliance of the colour and pattern - large flashes of colour and vividness are desirable however this is more dependant on personal preference.
- If they are a pair - a matched pair of Opals are very rare as each piece is so unique. Often a matched pair have been split from the same rock
- Whether it is a solid Opal. Beware of ‘doublets’ or ‘triplets’ (thin slices of Opal with a layer glued to it to add thickness. We only work with solid Opal.