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'Opal Cost'

Opal Cost

When Did Opals Gain Prominence?

Opals are primarily thought to have started gaining popularity in the late 1800s. Their discovery is credited to German geologist Johannes Menge who found them in Australia in 1849. However, opals have been prized by ancient civilizations for centuries. Romans loved opals, using them as early as 250 BC. Because of their array of vibrant, changing colors, they have always been linked to the supernatural, believed to have come from things like volcanoes or lightning strikes.

As the years went on, individuals became more discerning regarding opal stone. Particular opals, like fire Opal and black Opal, became sought after and deemed more valuable. Though nearly all types of Opal are beautiful and can be fashioned into some kind of jewelry. Sometime during the 1960s, it was discovered that Opal had a spherical silica structure. With this information, scientists learned how to make synthetic Opal, announcing their achievement in 1974. Nevertheless, the color-changing mystical Opal has remained a highly valued gem worldwide.

Famous People Who Have Worn Opal Jewelry

Opal stones have been enjoyed by many celebrities throughout the years. Artist Andy Warhol was an opal collector, having many opal jewelry pieces in his collection. Musical artist Elvis Presley was also an opal lover. He had many opal adornments, but his favorite was his exquisite opal rings, often featuring diamonds and other gems.

Queen Elizabeth was presented with a large opal pendant, set into palladium and surrounded by 150 diamonds when she visited Australia in 1954. Today, what is known as the Andamooka Opal (or Queen'sQueen's Opal) is still part of the royal collection. Other famous celebrities captivated by Opal include America'sAmerica's first billionaire John Davison Rockefeller, who owned the renowned Fire Queen Opal, and actress Elizabeth Taylor who was known for collecting opals and gifting them to friends and family members.

Opal Cost Factors

Opal stands out for its brilliant array of colors that flash and change as the stone moves. There are many different opals featuring various background colors and different plays of color. You can choose whichever type of Opal suits your tastes and personality, fashioning it into an opal ring, bracelet, pendant, or earring. The type of Opal you choose will strongly factor into the price.


Current opal prices depend on the type of opal stone. The most valuable Opal, Black Opal, ranges from $50 per carat to $10,000 per carat. Alternatively, White Opal is relatively common and ranges from $10 per carat to $150. Other opal types, such as fire, red, and blue, fall in the $10 to $500 per carat range. As mentioned, the type of Opal predominantly affects the price, but other factors can too.

What Affects Opal Price?

People might not know that there are two groups of garnets: garnets of calcium and garnets of magnesium. Within these two groups, there are six different types: almandine, pyrope, spessartite, grossular, andradite, and uvarovite. Each of these garnet types is known for having a unique color.

Type of Opal. The type of Opal is mainly determined by the background color, but the dominant color in the stone's ""play of color"" and how many colors it displays can also factor into the type. The major opal types are black, white, crystal, fire, blue, water, boulder, red, pink, and green. Like black, those with a darker background are most valuable because they provide excellent contrast against play-of-color. Play-of-color can have multiple different colors, red being the most desirable.

Color & Pattern. Along with the dominant colors present in the stone. Experts will also look for certain colors next to each other. For example, blue and red found next to each other in the stone's play-of-color are highly sought after. Opal stone's play-of-color can be arranged in various patterns too. Most experts like large patches instead of small spread-out patches. Common patterns include peacock, fire, mosaic, pinfire, harlequin, and pinpoint.

Clarity. Like other gems, clarity is important. However, it's a bit different when it comes to opals. Potch, the sandy material opals form in, can affect clarity and make a stone less valuable. But how opaque or transparent an opal is also affects its clarity rating. Cloudy and milky opals are less desirable than clean and bright stones.

Cut. Nearly all opals are cut in cabochon. They are not faceted like other gems. Cabochons have a domed, smooth top and a flat back. Unlike flat stones, these rounded shapes can be set into jewelry. The most common and popular shapes for the cabochons are variations of the oval or pear.

Carat Weight. All gems' value is somewhat dependent on their size. The larger the gem, the higher the price. But when it comes to opals, huge stones with lots of potch and dull colors can be far cheaper than small specimens with excellent color and clarity. Additionally, because opals have low density and are almost always cut in cabochon when you buy an opal, it is more important to pay attention to the stone's dimensions rather than its carat weight.

Why Choose an Opal?

Opals are not graded like other gemstones because they differ from most precious stones. Their body tone, transparency, and play-of-color make them unique. Due to these factors, they are almost always cut into cabochons, furthering their one-of-a-kind appearance. Because of their low density, even large opals can be light and comfortable. You can create a multi-stone pair of earrings or necklace that is just as striking as it is effortless to wear. Opals, long believed to bring good luck, are a unique, beautiful, and affordable way to show off your distinctive jewelry style!

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