of Opal and Value
is one of the five precious gems of the world, the others
being sapphire, emerald, diamond and ruby. Like DNA,
unique and no two are exactly the same.
are many types of opal and they are all precious gems and
very beautiful, namely crystal opal, white opal, black opal,
boulder opal, black matrix opal, semi-black opal and
black crystal opal. In simple terms these fall into
two easier explained groups namely "dark"
opal and "light" opal.
opal tends to be the most rare although other factors
such as brilliance, colour and pattern come into play
in valuing opal. For example, a top quality, brilliant
crystal opal with a range of colours and with good pattern
will be of a higher quality and value than a black opal
of lower brilliance and less colour. So take care with
internet sites which generalise about opal in suggesting
that a black opal will always be better and higher quality
than other type of opal. It is not simply the type of
opal which determines the value but the quality, brilliance
and colour of each piece.
relates to the brightness or brilliance of colour coming
from the opal. Some opals will flash brightly and others
will be more subtle and subdued. The brighter the gem
the more valuable it will be.
rarity of colours within an opal follows the order of
the light spectrum (ROYGBIV) with red being the rarest
and most valuable colour with orange , yellow, green,
blue, indigo and violet following in value. However,
remember the brilliance factor, such that a brilliant
green may be more valuable than a less brilliant red.
opals have a predominant colour and others have a range
of colours. All are precious, valuable and beautiful
and there are opals to suit all tastes.
patterns in the opal, where the colour flashes around
when the opal is moved also have an important influence
on the beauty and value of opal. Various patterns include
harlequin, broad, straw, ribbon, rolling flash, pinfire
Shape and Cut
shape, cut and orientation of the stone are very important
to get the best gem from a piece of rough opal. We have
had many years experience in cutting a broad range of different
types of opal and we take great care to optimise the
colour, pattern and brilliance in each piece. We cut
standard ( "calibrated ") size opals which
will fit into standard size jewellery in all countries.
We also cut "free form" shapes which are close
to the natural shape of the stones as they came out
of the ground. You can therefore buy a cut (unset ) opal and
have it set by your own jeweller if you don't see a
piece of jewellery in our range which takes your fancy.
like diamonds and the other precious gems, are measured
by carat weight. Quality opal can command a price per
carat similar to and quite often more than diamonds.
we are selling at the wholesale price to opal shops
in Australia, as well as in our factory outlet in the
Barossa Valley and on this site, we pride ourselves
in maintaining the lowest prices per carat for precious
opal in Australia and arguably the world.
What Appeals To You
as with other precious gems are personal items and beauty
is generally in the eye of the beholder. If you see
an opal or piece of jewellery which appeals to you and
the price is affordable then don't get too carried away
with the technical valuation aspects or even your friends'
opinions, as expert valuers often disagree about relative
values of opals. Your friends may also have different
tastes and preferences-Buy what you like as you are
the one who will be wearing it..
feel secure though that whatever you may buy from us,
you are buying at the wholesale (as opposed to retail)
price. This price will be significantly less (in many
cases one half to one third) than the price you will
pay from a retail shop in a CBD which is generally paying
thousands of dollars per week in lease rent, staffing
and other overhead costs. We have also streamlined our
range over 30 years of wholesaling to opal shops
around Australia, to bring you the most sought after and
popular styles of jewellery. Jewellery items in our
range which are not sought after, are quickly deleted
from our range.
Care of Opals
hardness of opal is around 6.5 on the Mohs' Scale which
is relatively hard but not as hard as a diamond. You
can wear an opal for everyday wear but respect it and
do not wear it when doing the gardening for example,
as even a diamond can chip on the edge of the crown.
(i.e. weak point on a diamond) if subjected to abuse
or impact in the garden.
have a water content in their chemical structure and
they can therefore be exposed to water. In the case
of opal doublets and triplets (i.e. bonded stones),
water exposure was avoided in the past when the bonding
resins were not water proof , but this is now much less
of a problem with the use of high grade water proof
resigns in the recent past.
Over many years of wear, an opal may get a few scratches
on its surface as can most of the other precious gems.
In some cases where opals have been worn continually
for 30 years or so, the many scratches may take the
natural polish from the stone , leaving a dull or "mat"
appearance . Most jewellers and certainly all good opal
dealers can re-sand and re-polish the opal and restore
it to its original polished finish. If your opal needs
re-sanding and polishing we have special techniques
to do this for you without removing it from its setting,
and at very little cost. (details via email )
opal jewellery is simple. Just rub over with a damp
cloth and then dry. It will give you a lifetime of elegance,
comments from your friends about the changing beauty
of this gem in different lights, and you will never
cease to be fascinated by the different colours , shades
our opinion opal is the most vibrant, varied and beautiful
of all the precious gems and is very simply maintained
as a beautiful and unique piece in your jewellery collection.
The Lucky Stone
has a long history and opal artifacts several thousand
years old have been discovered in East Africa
Romans believed opal to be lucky and they established
it as a gemstone, obtaining their supplies from traders
in the Middle East. The Roman name opalus is based on
an ancient Indian word meaning precious stone. The Romans
valued opal above all other gems, believing it to combine
the beauty of all precious gems. It is well documented
in Roman history that Caesars gave their wives opal
for good luck and the opal in Roman times was believed
to have come from the Hungarian opal mines which operated
right up until 1932.
high quality Australian opal appeared on the market
in the 1890's it became a serious threat to the diamond
industry and it is understood that diamond cartels actively
spread the false rumour that opal was unlucky.( trying
to reverse documented history of the 'lucky' stone)
Some of this mud stuck and became an 'old wives' tale
which is sometimes still repeated today.
are many reports of opal bringing people luck, including
the many opal miners who have made their fortunes and
have lived long and prosperous lives. A well known piece
of history comes from the Lightning Ridge Historical
Society. Mick McCormack, a young opal miner at Lightning
Ridge, rode off on his bike when war was declared and
went to enlist, simply saying to his friends "I'll
be back". A lifetime went by and a very old man
was in the Lightening Ridge Hotel showing a piece of
opal that he had mined and carried with him through
the Great War. At the time he was showing it a buyer
offered him 1500 pounds Australian for the stone . The
old man said "1500 quid, not on your life mate,
I wouldn't accept fifteen thousand quid. I carried this
opal through the war with me and I remember one time
when I thought it was my last day on earth. Men were
killed all around me . Night time, it was, and there
was the flashes of the guns and the shells bursting
all around us. My hair was standing up and I was sweating.
I was really frightened. I had the opal in my tunic
pocket. I took it out and looked at it and something
calmed me down. I looked at the
opal in my hand and I thought , some day, I've got to
go back to the Ridge. And I'll get back! And I'll take
this stone back to where it came from ' And he said
'No mate , money can't buy this stone.' A couple of
old miners finally realised who this old man was. They
had grown up with him as kids and it was their old mate
Mick who had been true to his word and had finally brought
his stone home.
History Of Opal In Australia
first discovery of opal in Australia was made in the
Barossa Valley on Tarrawilla Station near Angaston , South Australia by the
German Geologist Johannes Menge in 1849. After this
there are reports of opal being found in 1875 in the
Abercrombie Mountains, New South Wales. Opal was discovered
at White Cliffs (NSW) in 1890, Opalton (QLD) in 1896,
and at Lightning Ridge (NSW) in 1905.
was discovered at Coober Pedy (Sth Aust) in 1915, where mining
became established after the first world war, at
Andamooka (South Aust) in 1930 and Mintabie (South
Aust ) in 1976.
Opal in South Australia , South Australian Department
of Mines and Energy Resources August 1997. Custom Press