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Opal Types

Opals are famous for their alluring "play of colours" that change when looking from different angles. Learn about our different types of Australian opals.

Raw boulder opal stone

Black Opals

Black Opal is the king of opals, holding the highest value per carat and is predominantly found in Lightning Ridge, Australia. Black Opal is renowned for its dark body tone, which greatly intensifies the vibrant colour play within the opal body, making it a very mesmerizing gemstone. The dark shade comes from the gem’s natural black potch backing (the stone opal forms on).

Black opal platinum ring

Boulder Opals

Boulder opal pendant

Australian Boulder opal is mainly found in the Northeastern part of Australia in the state of Queensland. Boulder Opals are formed on a host rock called ironstone and can be difficult to mine since the opal gem is not immediately obvious but rather hidden inside thin seams. Once precious opal is identified within seams, miners then “split” the ironstone to reveal larger chunks of beautiful opal faces. This host ironstone rock can range in colour from light brown to deep brown. Like the dark potch of Black Opal, the ironstone backing of Boulder Opals also helps to intensify the vibrancy of colour play. A good piece of Boulder Opal can be more valuable than Black Opal.

White Opal

White Opal is the most common form of opal, and possibly the type most people around the world are familiar with. White Opals can be found in Australia around Coober Pedy, but also across mines of Slovakia, Hungary, Ethiopia, and the United States. White Opal has a milky/creamy potch and the lighter body tone has received great popularity among younger clients for its more casual look. Unlike Crystal Opals where light passes straight through, White Opal’s potch is translucent, meaning light will instead be diffused. White Opals tend to exhibit more pastel colours rather than the saturated colours found in crystal or black opal.

White Opal Pendant
Crystal Opal Pendant

Crystal Opals

Crystal Opals are known for their glass-like transparency. This type of opal is found more commonly across various opal fields around the world. Despite its name, Crystal Opals are not crystals. They are named Crystal Opals because of its transparent potch. When held up to the light you will notice light passing directly through the stone. Due to its transparency this gem presents a unique depth perspective on its colour play, allowing the viewer to see colour play across all angles of the stone. This phenomenon is rarely found in other types of opal.

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