Its all about the Opal

Opal is derived from the Greek word opallus which means “to see a change of colour”. In a precious Opal you will see the colours and the shapes alter as you move the stone, these fine opals match the desirability, the prices and the quality of the finest diamonds, emeralds and rubies. Opals are stunningly beautiful, rare and illusive.

Different types of Opals

Black Opals; Not all opals are equal, The Black Opal is the rarest and most sought-after of the Opals, making up for only 1% of Australia’s opal stocks these most precious opals come from The Lightning Ridge mined in Australia. These are natural solid black opals with a rich array of colours, blues, greens, reds, yellows. They are mined, cut and polished, each one a unique stone.

Boulder opals; Most Precious Opals form as thin seams and patches in rock (ironstone, basalt, sandstone etc) Sometimes the Opals are too small or too complex in shape to make up a solid Opal, but they are still as beautiful so the cutter creates a stone from the Opal and its surrounding rock. It is usually a more durable stone because of its heritage. The most sought after are from Queensland.

Crystal Opal; This is known for its translucent appearance and is very popular. Under a light you can see a great vibrancy of colour and patterns, always changing as the light alters.

Milky Opal; This is the most common and the most reasonably priced of the Opal family. Because of their pale colour these opals have less vibrant colour than boulder opals and black opals. They do not have the advantage of having a dark or black background which enhances the stone and makes the opal colour stand out. If you love pearls you will love Milky Opals.

Doublets; these consist of two thin slices of opal cemented onto a black backing which enhances the colour these are often from Ethiopia and are less expensive than the Lightning Ridge opals and can be more fragile

Triplets; These are very similar to Doublets but they include a third transparent layer on the top that protects the Opal layers and gives it a more cabouchon look.

Opals love to be worn

Precious Opals have a great similarity to precious Pearls. They contain water (usually between 2 and 10 per cent) and like Pearls, their colour and shine is enhanced by the humidity from the air and the skin of its wearer. Also (as with Pearls) you have to care for your Opals to keep them beautiful. So although they love to be worn wear them with care.

• Ensure they are not exposed to sudden changes in temperature from hot to cold or cold to hot (if you go from a hot room to icy outside conditions then keep your Opal next to the warmth of your skin)
• When you’re not wearing your Opal, keep it in a box wrapped in a soft cloth. If it will be a while until you wear it place small piece of damp cotton wool close by to keep the atmosphere humid.
• Obvious we know but don’t garden, play in sand, rock climb or any similar activity when wearing your Opals, because not only is your Opal one of the most precious of stones it is one of the rarest and as all things precious and rare they need love, care and attention. As you can probably guess we love opals we hope you do too.

Seth Gardner
Goldsmith Jewellery Designer