How To Buy Opals !EXCLUSIVE!
CutFine opals are often cut into irregular shapes to emphasize play-of-color. When possible, opals should be cut cabochon with rounded domes. But most opal comes in thin layers, which are commonly mounted on another dark stone like onyx or obsidian (as a doublet) and sometimes capped with clear glass or plastic (as a triplet) to make this fragile gemstone more wearable.
how to buy opals
To help you navigate the seemingly endless number of websites selling opals and opal jewellery, we've created a short guide to buying Australia's national gemstone online that offers some great tips and advice.
Our website features gold, silver and gold-plated silver jewellery settings and all types of opals, from solid black Lightning Ridge stones to beautiful crystal pieces from Coober Pedy, as well as affordable doublet and triplet opals.
Again, only shop with a reputable business and be aware of exactly what you are buying. Please note, doublet and triplet opals do not fall into this category as they contain real opal and are an affordable and acceptable alternative to natural black opal.
It is best to find a site that has all types of sellers from opal miners in Australia to opal wholesalers and international miners or wholesalers. Many buyers have stated that buying opals on the internet is the best because sellers all over the world have to compete against each other in offering their opals for sale in a controlled online environment.
Opal miners have to price against other sellers so if a miner overprices his opals the will not sell. This is the main advantage for our buyers as sellers compete against each other driving prices down, something that single sellers online sites do not offer.
The opal association is marketing a body tone guide with opal stones and doublets so all buyers and sellers can have a uniform guide to gauge opal. These will help buyers compare opals between sellers. You should always buy off a seller who guarantees his product and grading so if you disagree you can return it.
The base body tone refers to the darkness or lightness of the opal ignoring the play of colour and brightness of the stone. The base colour can only be determined by looking down on the top of the stone and ignoring the material on the back of the stone. Only those stones ranking N1 to N4 are considered black opals. The opal price is determined by body tone, brightness, colour, play of colour, size and allowing for faults and imperfections.
Opal sizes are listed in millimetres (25.4 mm = 1 inch) and weights are listed in carats - just like all other gemstones and the jewelry mountings for them A calibrated shape gemstone should fit most jewelry mountings designed for those dimensions. An opal that is within 0.5 to 1 mm of a calibrated size may acceptably fit into many calibrated mountings. Calibrated shape opals typically cost 15% to 50% more than a freeform shape opal due to the wastage of the opal when cut. A freeform or larger size opal can be cut to a smaller size by an experienced cutter. Or you can have a custom jewelry mounting made for your unique opal, often for less expense than you might expect. Thickness of the opal is a major factor in the carat weight of a precious opal gemstone - but an opal that is unusually thick will be considered less valuable as it may have to have excess weight removed to fit in a jewellery piece.
Synthetic opal are sometimes used in triplets which are much harder to spot. Generally they are very bright with a regular pattern that looks too constant to be natural. It is best to become familiar with a few man made opals (usually advertised as synthetic or man made) so it is easier to recognize them.
These opals contain gorgeous play of colors when rotated and they may also have beautiful patterns. Remember that the more intense and brighter the colors, the more expensive the opal will be. While blue and violet opals are more commonly found, red is rare and costs more. The opal you choose will largely depends on how much you are willing to spend.
Like synthetic diamonds, synthetic opals are lab-created gemstones with the same chemical formula as a natural opal. However, these opals tend to show different patterns and density. Something to look out for is a snake-skin pattern. Needless to say, synthetic opals are inexpensive and much less valuable than natural opals.
As with the doublet opal, triplet opals consist of thin slices of precious opal sandwiched between a black backing and a slice of glass or quartz. This too can be identified by viewing the opal from the side and looking for the seams but like the doublet, is impossible to notice once mounted in a setting.
Like pearls, opals are delicate gemstones. They need to be looked after and maintained properly. Over time, opals will have scratches and marks which can cause it to appear dull. If this happens, take the opal back to an opal cutter who will professionally polish the stone for you, reviving its brilliance.
Opals are one of the most interesting gemstones because they have such a wide range of species and prices. You can find common opals with prices as low as 20$ a carat to black opals at 10k a carat. In this blog we will cover everything from the different types and colors, how to identify them, maintenance and cleaning, hydrophane opals and everything you need to know before you buy one!
So first let's start with the basics! Opals have a hardness of 5.5-6.5 on 10, meaning it is a softer stone and does require more care. You have precious opals, which means the stones have iridescent color play (the flashes of color within the stone). If they don't have any and are opaque they are known as common opal.
The colors within opals are caused by the tiny spheres of silica within the opal. When light diffracts on these spheres as it travels through the lattice, a ray of colors appear. The smaller the sphere, the smaller the wavelength and as a result, the range of color. For example, the smaller beads will only show greens and blues because these colors have the shortest wavelength. The larger ones will show more colors, such as red, which takes the largest wavelength to be produced. This makes red a desired color to look for when buying.
3)The purity of the opal. Opals are broken down into 3 categories. You have solid opal, boulder opal and matrix. Solid opal is exactly as it sounds, its entirety is solid opal. It is the most valued. Next you have boulder opal that is found through other stone in patterns which resemble veins. Matrix opals have other types of stone mixed through the opal in patches.
4) A very important thing to know when buying opals is knowing when the opal has been cut. This is because when opal has been freshly mined, it is not yet stable. They need a period of up to 3 years to dry out before they are sold. If they don't have a proper drying time, they may actually change color and transparency. You know this has happened when your opal that was bought with a translucent appearance has slowly turned foggy or milky after several months. In some cases the colors can even turn to less desirable shades. All good vendors should be aware of this gestation period and should be able to provide you with the dates for their gems.
Mexican fire opals are, as the name suggests, found in Mexico. They can also be found in Guatemala, Canada, the US, and even Australia. They come in colors ranging from white to yellow, orange, and red.
Common opals are the species of opals that are the most common and in abundance, however they aren't the most commonly known. This is because they don't have iridescence, making it a less desirable stone option. Peruvian opals have very unique colors such as turquoise, pinks, blues, purples and range in translucent to opaque.
Mosaic Opals are composed of a sand stone base, but instead of a thin sheet of opal, they are made with small fragments of opals stuck together, forming what resembles a ceramic piece.
Hydrophane opals are opals that have a higher porosity and will absorb water, when in contact. You can easily spot a hydrophane opal because when placed in water, they will become transparent and their colors subdued. If you do have one, do not worry, these changes aren't necessarily permanent. If it has happened to you, simply remove your ring and let your opal dry away from direct sunlight. After a few days it should return to normal.
The most common type of synthetic opals are Gilson opals. They are commonly seen on the market and, in some instances, can be hard to distinguish from the natural gemstone. Let's have a look at how to differentiate them from the natural!
2) When moving natural opals, the color play should disperse throughout the stone like water. With Synthetic, the color will not move throughout the stone, but stay within the same place.
Andamooka opals are a type of opals found in Australia. This type of opal is almost always treated. They subdue the opal in sugar water and then acid. The sulfuric acid will turn the sugar to black carbon and, as a result, the base of the stone itself will also turn black. In darkening the base of the opal it will allow the color play within the opal to show a more striking contrast and as a result the colors will pop!
Almost all opal displays some form of pattern. You will never find two opals that are the same. In particular, many of the top quality pieces of black boulder opal show their strength through a distinct recognizable pattern play of strong colours. Some of the various patterns are listed below.
Glass opals can be produced in an array of colours designed to mimic the physical appearance of natural opals. There are two main types of glass used to reproduce fake opals. Slocum stone is a silicate type of glass that features flakes of iridescent film that replicate the play of colour seen in genuine opal. Opalescent glass is the other commonly used manmade glass. It possesses a sheen-like lustre that, to the untrained eye, may appear as genuine opal. Opalite is a type of man-made plastic with an opalescence effect and is sometimes used to create fake opals. 041b061a72