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Opals Come In All Kinds of Colors

Originally posted on October 14th, 2017

Updated on April 10th, 2020

Hello everybody. We hope you had an uneventful Friday the 13th and are enjoying the crisp autumn weather. To relish a lovely weekend, we're going to recap on opals. Aren't you thrilled that they're not bad luck at all? I certainly am!


Isn't it remarkable what you can do with opals?


Opals can be found all over the world in different forms besides the pretty play-of-color stone we oogle and aww at frequently. Specifically, there are seven varieties of opal with varying degrees of rarity and popularity in the market. They also come in all kinds of price ranges, which you'll agree is convenient for the gift-giving season around the corner. Check out our opal products here.

 

 

Australia is an essential source of opals. Australia contains the most valuable opals in the world: black opals found in the Lightning Ridge mines in Australia. Their value comes from their dark gray to black bodycolor, which brings out the reputable play-of-color. Dramatic play-of-color equals demand for higher prices for black opal. Like these opals from the Smithsonian. Aren't they spectacular?


We can provide beautiful opal jewelry with diamonds and sapphires.


While black opals are valuable and rare, white opals are the most common opals in the market. They're widely available in commercial quality. Discovered in 1999 is one of the essential sources for white opal, in Brazil. Opals were traditionally white in a jewelry store with subtle play of color. Our Gold Leaf Motif Opal Earrings are an excellent example from Moijey.


       


Fire opals are one of few opals in the world that don't have play-of-color. Instead, they live up to their name and come in a vibrant array of reds, oranges, and yellows. The most valuable fire opals have a red-orange color or a bright red color. This opal variety is also one of the few opals that can be faceted. Like this fire opal from the Smithsonian.


Who would've thought that opals can be faceted?


Fire opal gets its vibrant color from iron oxides in its structure instead of the different silica sphere sizes we talked about last week in Opals Are Rainbows You Can Wear! They're also called Mexican Opals because of the mine origin. That's the source of the fire opals in our Fire Opal Hinged Earrings.


The live up to their name set in 14K yellow gold.

Set in gold, they live to their fiery name.


Another fantastic variety of opal is called water opal or hyalite. There is little to no play of color, and its either transparent or translucent. The Smithsonian has a beautiful selection of water opals in their natural, icy state.

We have two ways of looking at water opal. Either as ice or water in a rolling boil.


Crystal opal is also transparent like water opal, except it has a brilliant display of the play of color. It's almost reminiscent of glass, very romantic glass.


There are also varieties of opal where there is more source rock than opal. Boulder opal is such a stone with a matrix and thin layers of precious opal. The matrix makes the opal durable; without it, the opal would be fragile and need to sandwiched between two different stones for support.


Still beautiful, even in its rough form

Beautiful opal in its source rock? Remarkable.


That brings me to assembled opal. This method uses thin layers of opal either as a doublet or a triplet. A doublet will have a backing made from either obsidian, black onyx, black glass, potch opal (opal that isn't very attractive) or black plastic. A triplet will also have a black background with the addition of a colorless top layer of either rock crystal (quartz) or glass.

Picture courtesy of geology.com

Thank you for stopping by our blog. We hope you have a terrific weekend, and we'll see you next week for tourmaline, October's second birthstone! That's right, everybody! October babies can enjoy more colors with tourmaline!