A Simple Guide to Picking Out the Best Opals in the World

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Are you thinking of getting an opal for your love or treating yourself? Read this article to choose the best precious opal for purchasing.

If you’re looking for ways to pamper a dearest one or indulge yourself, you can consider getting an opal. Opal gemstones are durable, and they are magnificent. The radiance of this precious stone is very captivating, and no amount of words will do justice to its beauty.

After deciding to purchase an opal piece, you might get flustered in not knowing where to start. From choosing the perfect stone to the design setting of the jewelry piece, you have to consider a few factors. For your convenience, this article will guide you through the whole process of choosing the perfect opal for purchase.

Types of the Best Opals in the World

First things first, you need to choose the right type of opals. The opals come in a variety of colors and shapes. The most popular types are the Australian white and black opals. To know more about the finest quality Australian opals, click here

When choosing the right opal, you need to go for the one that perfectly complements the personality. The color combination and the brilliance should also match the person’s taste. Some of the different types of opal are discussed in the following.

Black Opal

Black opals are recommended for those who are seeking more color intensity. The term “black” does not necessarily only refer to the opal’s color; instead, it refers to the stone’s deep body tone. Color flash is more intense in darker body tones; therefore, black opals can reveal more brilliant blues, greens, and oranges. Black opals are most popular in Asia and Australia. They are also considered to be more valuable than other kinds of opal.

White Opal

White opal is recommended for those who are looking for classic opal aesthetics. They are without a doubt the most well-known and well-liked. Their color flashes are more subtle than those of other opal varieties due to their light body color.

They come in a variety of flash shades. Semi-translucent and opaque white are the most popular styles. Semi-translucent opals typically have large rolling flashes of blue and green, whereas opaque white opals have small pinfire flashes of a rainbow.

Light Opal

Light opals tend to feature a bit more color than white opals. This is because they have a slightly deeper body tone than the white ones.

Dark Opal

Dark opals feature a color tone between light and black opals. Dark opals of the highest grade can surpass black opals in color intensity and quality. The difference in the moniker is more of a technical distinction than a crucial one in terms of aesthetics and appearance.

Crystal Opal

Crystal opals are very different from those discussed so far as they possess a full translucent body. This enables unfettered bursts of color to shine through. Crystal opals are popular because of their vibrant hue and intense colors. The most vivid crystal opals, like black opal, are extremely rare.

Fire Opal

A particular type of opal with a clear yellow, orange, or red body color is known as “fire opal” or “Mexican fire opal.” Unlike other forms of opal, they usually have only one hue and no additional flashes of color, giving them an appearance more comparable to traditional colored stones. Fire opals with multi-colored flashes are very rare; they are usually collector stones that are tough to come by. Fire opals are most typically found in Mexico, as the name implies.

The term “fire” has several connotations in the context of opal. It usually refers to the rainbow flashes that appear on the bodies of many opals. Most opals are “fiery” or display “intense fire” in this sense. This is not to be confused with the “fire opal,” a highly specialized type of solid-colored opal (with no multi-colored flashes). Some internet sellers incorrectly refer to counterfeit opals composed primarily of glass and epoxy as “fire opals.” That is a particularly misuse of words because they are not opals at all.

Boulder Opal

Boulder opal is an opal that has formed directly on a rock. The rock is incorporated into the stone, resulting in freeform organic forms. Boulder opals are therefore ideal for expressive pendants and are a less usual choice for rings.

Mosaic Opal

The harlequin pattern is another name for the mosaic pattern. This is a highly sought opal as its color flash mimics the squares of a quilt. A significant amount of value is added to the stone when found in natural opals.

A mosaic pattern is a clear indication of a constructed or lab-created stone. For instance, multiple swatches of precious opal are used to form a mosaic design, creating an opal triplet. Sometimes lab-created opals are developed in a method that results in a mosaic pattern, which can generally be distinguished by the pattern’s regularity.

Blue, Green, and Red Opals

Opals are available in a variety of colors, with blue, green, and red being amongst the most popular. Opals with color names such as blue opal do not have precise definitions for opal categorization, unlike the terms “white opal” and “black opal.”

They mainly refer to the primary color of the stone (or colors). White, black, or crystal opals that appear primarily blue are available if you are seeking a blue opal. A white opal with blue color play can pique your interest (or blue fire). You can also opt for a translucent crystal or white opal with blue hues. Black opal with a rich blue color can also appeal to you. Even if one hue dominates, most opals will present a combination of colors.

Assess Your Budget

It is crucial to assess your budget when looking for the perfect opal. If you have a limited budget of around $150 to $400, then it is best to go for white or fire opal. To get an opal at reasonable and affordable pricing, it is best to go for man-made or lab-created ones. If you have a more flexible budget ranging between $500 and $4,000, you can opt for black and crystal opals. Bear in mind that natural opals are more expensive than lab-made ones.

Only Opt For Reliable and Verified Sellers

You should purchase such precious gemstones from authentic and certified sellers. Look at the testimonials and customer reviews of the retailer or manufacturer. Only go for the stores that have commendable reviews. You can also ask in public forums about their credibility and service.

Wherever you buy from, it is best to avoid hobbyists claiming to be experts, even if they are someone you know personally. You should also check the store’s stock guarantee and return policy. 

Choose the Ideal Shape

Opals are usually cut as cabochons, which means they have a smooth domed top and a flat bottom. This shape is ideal for showing the color contrast and hues. The most popular shapes are oval and round, followed by marquise and pear shapes. These four shapes are recommended as they showcase the opal’s beautiful features in the best way.

Carefully Review the Best Opals in the World

If you are buying the stone in physical stores, it is best to go to well-lit stores. All the opals should be compared in the same lighting and not under any natural lighting. It is recommended to examine the stone under a 100-watt globe light bulb.

It is recommended for the light source to be 20 inches above the stone. To have an accurate comparison, it is wise to have a set of stones on hand. Many customers bring their stones to the opal fields for comparison.

If you are going to purchase gemstones online, it is vital to examine high-resolution photos of your specific opal because each natural opal is one-of-a-kind. If feasible, examine photographs from different angles and on both light and dark backgrounds.

Depending on the background, the hues and colors of the opal may vary substantially since many opals are semi-translucent. Photos taken only on a black backdrop are inadequate and may give the impression of a stronger color flash than the stone features.

Choose the Design Setting

After choosing the ideal opal, you need to decide on a design setting that will showcase its features in the best possible way. You can have the stone as it is as a collectible item and keep it in a quaint box or glass casing. You can design the opal in a beautiful jewelry piece like a ring or a necklace.

Final Words

Opals are splendid gemstones, and their beauty is out of the world. The iridescent and the ethereal features of this stone are quite captivating, making them very unique. Whether you are looking for the perfect piece for your engagement ring, or a gift to a loved one, or simply pampering yourself, this precious gem can be an amazing possession.

Assess your budget and choose the right type of opal that perfectly resonates with the person’s personality. Only purchase from verified, reputable, and reliable sellers, and you will not have anything to regret.

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