Opals, with their mesmerizing play of colours and unique beauty, are one of the most sought-after gemstones in the world. The allure of these gems is not only due to their aesthetic appeal but also because of the variety they offer. Let’s delve into the captivating types of opals.
What Are Opals?
Opals are a type of amorphous mineraloid, a category of minerals that lack a crystalline structure. Their charm lies in their ‘play-of-colour’, a phenomenon caused by the diffraction of light through tiny silica spheres within the stone. This results in a spectacular display of rainbow-like hues that change with the angle of observation.
The Stunning Varieties of Opals
These are the most common opals, known for their magnificent play of colour. Precious opals can be further divided into several subtypes based on their base colour and the region they are found.
They are the rarest and the most valuable among all opal varieties. The term ‘black’ refers to the dark body tone of the stone, which provides a stunning contrast to the vibrant play of colour.
Also known as ‘light opals,’ they have a white, off-white, or light body tone. They are more common than black opals but are equally captivating.
Found embedded within ironstone boulders in Queensland, Australia, these opals display a vibrant play of colour against a dark, ironstone background.
They, often referred to as ‘potch’, do not exhibit the play of colour. They come in various colours, including pink, blue, and green, and are used for carving and beadwork.
Originating from Mexico, fire opals are translucent to transparent opals with warm body colours, usually yellow to orange to red. Unlike other opals, they may not always exhibit play-of-colour.
Crystal opals are transparent or semi-transparent with a clear background. They showcase an exceptional play of colour, making them highly desirable.
How to Buy Opals
When deciding on how to buy opals, consider factors like the type of opal, the play of colour, size, shape, and body tone. Always buy from reputable dealers to ensure authenticity.
The Allure of Opals
The myriad types of opals offer a palette of options for every taste and budget. From the fiery reds of fire opals to the enchanting play-of-colour in black opals, each variety has its unique charm. Whether you’re a gem enthusiast or a jewellery lover, the world of opals holds a dazzling treasure just waiting to be discovered.