Opal Gemstone Guide
Overview of Opal Gemstone
The opal stone is one of the most sought-after gemstones. They are popular and valuable due to their distinctive and impressive play-of-color, which you can't find in other stones. This is why some varieties of opal are more expensive than diamonds and gold.
Opal gemstone is also a birthstone, making them the perfect birthday, wedding, or anniversary gift for people who were born in October. This stone is extremely durable and comes in wide varieties like white opal, jelly opal, and crystal opal. Black opals are considered the most luxurious and expensive types and come predominately from lightning ridge.
Read further to learn more about this beautiful and elegant gemstone.
Opals are mostly available in a cabochon cut, which is in the highest demand. They have a smooth domed top and a flat bottom. Using cabochon cut for jewelry allows you to showcase the play of color. Round and oval are also common preferences for jewelry, while you can also find marquise and pear shapes.
This classy and top-quality gemstone is available in a range of sizes. Opal has low density than other stones. Therefore, larger-sized gemstones are comfortable to wear. In general, you can find 8X6, 7X5, and 6X4 mm opal cabochons in jewelry. However, you can always opt for your desired size based on the jewelry item you have chosen.
One of the common factors that decide the price of the opal is its colors. Rare opal colors like red and orange come at higher prices, while purple, green, blue, and white are the most commonly picked stones. Also, black opals are the most expensive due to their dark and catchy body tone.
This stone has all degrees of transparency- from transparent to opaque, allowing people to choose one based on their interests and preferences. Opal birthstone is a naturally occurring stone, and of course, they sometimes have defects or inclusions. This can lower the value of the stone. However, if the defect is aesthetically attractive and doesn't cause a problem in using the stone for jewelry, it adds more value to the stone.
Opal naturally occurs in different parts of the world, such as the Western US, Mexico, Honduras, and Brazil. However, Australia produces the highest amount of quality opal. In fact, the largest uncut opal stone can be found in South Australia. Well, opal is not a rare gemstone, but some varieties like red and orange opal are rare.
Opal and its jewelry come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). It may or may not include your and the retailer's name, but it can confirm the quality of the opal. It's best to choose credible brands that offer your certified opal. If not, you can certify an opal from a different lab to ensure your opal is 100% pure. Experts use a different technique for quality analysis of the opal. They use a dark background and controlled lighting to inspect the stone.
Generally, opals are cleaned and treated with oil and Opticon to eliminate dust and enhance the play of colors. Experts also cut and polish it before cooking it in saturated sugar solution if needed. Note that cleaning and refining an opal is important to preserve the look of your opal jewelry. Also, these treatments don't impact the value and quality of the opal. If you’re worried about harmful treatments like acid testaments, look for reliable and leading brands in the industry that promise to offer natural stones.
Opal buying guide
Opal gemstones don't have any standard grading system. Here are some tips you can keep in mind while purchasing the stone.
Evaluate Your Budget
Each cut and variety of stone comes with a different price tag. Determine your budget before you choose the color, size, or jewelry of opal.
Choose a Shape
Marquise, round, or cabochon cut- which one will work best with your preferred jewelry piece? Do remember the shape you choose will impact jewelry price.
Select a Size
The bigger stone you choose, the higher value it will have. Pick a size that adorns your opal engagement ring or pendant and falls within your budget.
Think about Quality
Although you can't check the stone quality without the necessary expertise, you can go to a jewelry manufacturer or retailer who is popular in the industry. Leading brands offer you the highest quality products and guide you, so you make an informed decision.
Some varieties of opal are rare, such as black, red, and orange opals. Therefore, jewelry like opal rings for women made with center black or any rare stone is also expensive.
Black opals are more valuable due to their unique appeal.
Yes, they are durable. You can wear them regularly.
Yellow gold, white gold, silver, or platinum, every type of metal looks charismatic and apprising with opal stone.