Opal Diamond Factory is a family business who specialize in opal, diamond and coloured stone jewellery. We welcome you to visit our opal showroom located in the Adelaide CBD.
Today we would like to invite you to discover the wonderful world of opals, which are Australia's national gemstone.
Opal is found throughout the world, such as Brazil, Honduras and Mexico but 95% of the worlds opal comes from Australia. According to Australian Indigenous dreamtime stories opals came to be when the rainbow touched the earth creating the colours of opal. In Indigenous culture opal is known as the fire of the desert and is considered to be a powerful symbol of Australia’s arid interior.
It takes around 5 to 6 million years for opal to form. The natural process rarely occurs making opal incredibly valuable. Opal is formed from silica and water, which hardens over time. The opal is made up of tiny spheres of silica dioxide, depending on the size of these spheres determines the colour of the opal. Smaller spheres produce a more common blue colour whereas larger spheres produce the most sought after colour, red. Although red is considered the most valuable opal colour, a vibrant blue-green opal will be more valuable than a dull red opal. 95% of opals found by miners in Australia, are common opals without colour, this is what we call potch.
Throughout history, opals have been considered good luck. The Romans believed that opal were one of the luckiest gem stones, signifying hope and purity.
There are many different types of opals, today we are going to explore each of the solid Australian opals.
The most common of all the opals is the White opal and Crystal opal. 70% of this type of opal is found in the opal fields of Coober Pedy, South Australia. White opals form within seams of white sandstone giving them their distinct paler colour. Although distinguished by their lighter tones, white opals can display an array of colours. White opals tend to have a more ‘milky’ colour as compared to the Crystal Opal that tends to be quite translucent.
White and Crystal opals are a popular choice when creating a custom opal jewellery piece.
The Queensland Boulder opal forms within cracks of brown ironstone. This opal has a natural dark body, formed by the ironstone intensifies the vibrant colouring of a boulder opal. These opals are often cut in a freeform shape to ensure as much of the valuable rough opal is used.
The virant reds and oranges of this special Australian opal are a rare and mesmerizing sight. Australian fire opals are not only loved for their bright reds and oranges, but also because they're truly a work of art.
The red opal is known for being the rarest opal of all. The rough red opal itself is quite beautiful to look at, but it matures into a beautiful shade of red when polished.
At last, we come to the famous lightning ridge black opal, the most sought after opal and elusive to find. This opal naturally has a darker body tone, ranging from a dark grey semi-black appearing underbelly to a jet black tone. The dark underbelly is known as black potch. The rarest colour to find in black opal is red, this is known as ‘red on black’
Opal is such a unique stone for making jewellery because no two opal pieces are the same. It is perfect for making unique opal jewellery for a ring or to show a special someone that you love them. Solid gold rings make a perfect offset for the beauty of the opal.
When valuing opal you first look at how pretty and how vibrant the colours are, followed by the pattern of the opal and how heavy it is.
You can find all types of patterns within opal which will also determine the value of the stone. Some of these patterns include rolling flash, harlequin and feather pattern.
Opal can start from a few dollars and go up into the 100’s of thousand dollars and into the millions. High-quality black opal can go for 10, 15, 20 thousand dollars per carat and more.
Precious opal can be considered significantly rarer than diamonds.
At Opal Diamond Factory we pride ourselves on our extensive collection of the Australian national gemstone.