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Your Australian Opal Questions Answered

We contacted our social media audience to gather their top opal questions. If you have a general inquiry about Australian Opals (including Black Opals, Crystal Opals, or Boulder Opals), feel free to email us at sales@opalgalaxy.com – we’ll be happy to address your question and include it in our growing list of opal questions.

General Questions about Australian Opals

What is opal?

People mine opals, naturally formed gemstones, in the outback of Australia. Their formation involves hydrated silica (sand) and water from the Great Artesian Basin, a sea that once covered inland Australia. All Australian Opals are unique and prized as some of the most valuable and demanded gemstones in the jewelry and collectors market today.”

Is Australian opal valuable?

Australian Opals rank among the highest valued natural gemstones in the world. Contributing factors to high values include rarity of high end quality opals, high labor, machinery and fuel prices in Australia as well as lack of miners willing to take the risk to mine them.

What is special about Australian opals?

Australian opals are the most unique gemstone ever discovered. That is because no two opals look identical; they are all unique, one and only gemstones. Opals are sought after by people wanting some unique character about their jewelry.

In Australia, where can one find opals?

The main opal mining regions are in Winton, Koroit and Yowah in Western Queensland (Boulder Opals), Lightning Ridge in North Eastern New South Wales (Black Opals, Dark Opals and Crystal Opals, and Coober Pedy in Inland South Australia (White Opals and Crystal Opals). Other smaller mining regions include Mintabie, Andamooka, White Cliffs, Eromanga, Quilpie, Jundah and Duck Creek.

Which opal is considered the best one found in Australia?

There is no best type of Australian opal as all opals are unique to each other. The most valuable in the market and rarest type of opal however is gem grade black opals from Lightning Ridge.

What is opal made of?

Opal comprises hydrated silica derived from sand and water. The water from the sea seeped into crevices in the Earth and sat for millions of years, shaping these beautiful, unique gemstones.

How does opal form?

Opal forms from hydrated silica originating from sand and water. It has remained in crevices on Earth for millions of years, shaping these distinctive gemstones. The solution creates silica spheres that display various colors, similar to rainbows.

Can you shower with opal jewelry?

You can shower with Australian opal jewelry without damaging the opal itself. This advice excludes doublets and triplets that may have glue that is sensitive to chemicals. If you are wearing a rope necklace the type of rope may wear over time with exposure to water. I would not recommend showering with any type of hydrophane opal (for example Ethiopian opals) as they are sensitive to climate and humidity changes.

Can opals get wet?

Australian opals can tolerate moisture; exposure to water will not alter or damage them. Frequently, opals in their rough state are dampened to enhance their color before polishing. This guidance does not apply to doublets and triplets containing internal glue. It also does not apply to opals from other regions like Ethiopia and Mexico, whose hydrophane properties may affect their appearance.

Why is opal so expensive?

Australian black opals are one of the top 5 most valuable gemstones in the World. Whilst there are still reasonably priced black opals around, higher valued gem grade black opals can reach as much as $20,000 per carat. The price is high because the supply is very low. The reason for this is that mining in Australia is very expensive with high labour costs, fuel costs, machinery costs and lack of miners wanting to take the risks of mining (both safety and financially).

Why are opals stored in water?

This is a common myth that is actually false. Australian Opals should not be stored in water. They do not dry out if left outside of water. They do not require any water at any time to maintain their look or stability. Australian opals can be wet with water and not change or be damaged as a result.

Questions about Black Opals

This is what a black opal looks like

What is black opal?

Black opals are opals with a very dark or black body tone as a result of the potch (colorless opal) makeup. Black opals have formed over millions of years from a reaction of silica and water in the Australian outback. The majority of black opals discovered come from Lightning Ridge, Australia, however there have been other small discoveries of black opals in other regions.

What does a black opal look like?

All black opals have a unique look to each other; that is the beauty of Australian opals is that no 2 opals look the same. Black opals are non transparent, solid and often shaped into ringtones as ovas or teardrops. Black opals are usually formed in colorless opal (black potch); so they will often have deeper, brighter colors apposed to other varieties of opals.

How valuable is black opal?

All black opals are unique to one another, so there is no set price for each individual stone. A black opal could be worth as little as $100 or as much as $1,000,000. It really depends on a lot of different factors as to the worth of an Australian black opal. Them being rarity and variety of colors, size, weight, shape, rareness of pattern ect. Read about Buying Black Opals for Investment

What does black opal do spiritually?

People do believe that certain gemstones can improve spiritual connections and awarenesses to ones life. These are not scientifically proven and may vary depending on the culture, religion or warers beliefs. For example; Hindu astrology promotes black opals and white opals to be worn or given as gifts at certain periods in ones life.

Where is black opal found in Australia?

The main discoveries of black opals in Australia occur in Lightning Ridge; in the north western outback region of the state of New South Wales.

Why is black opal so rare?

It is extremely rare to find high end gem grade black opals worth substantial amounts. This is because they just aren’t there to be discovered. The chances of discovering a pocket of high end black opals are almost as difficult as winning a jackpot at a casino; it just doesn’t happen every day! There are few miners willing to take the risk to mine for black opals because of the high expenses associated with mining. The discovered ‘best’ areas of Lightning Ridge were also mined out a long time ago.

Why is Lightning Ridge called Lightning Ridge?

Lightning Ridge got its name from explorers who passed through and discovered the bodies of a farmer and his large flock of sheep struck by lightning. Electrical storms are very common in the area, and throughout the Australian Outback.

Questions about Boulder Opals

What is a boulder opal?

Boulder Opals are gemstones that miners discover in outback regions of Queensland, frequently within large ironstone boulders formed over millions of years. Boulder opals can host any color of the rainbow and a variety of different patterns. Each opal is unique, one and only and therefor can become such a great addition to a persons jewellery collection. People around the world popularly wear boulder opals as pendants.

Are boulder opals worth anything?

Boulder opals can be very valuable in the gemstone market. We have some boulder opals valued in excess of $100,000 USD. There are always lower grade options in boulder opals available too.

A Queensland Boulder Opal

What is special about boulder opal?

Boulder opals are opals that have formed over millions of years in the earth. They often contain fossilized wood and vegetation. Boulder opals are all unique, one-of-a-kind pieces highly valued in the gemstone market. They are ideal for high-end jewelry designs, particularly as pendant-sized pieces.

Is boulder opal any good?

Gem grade boulder opals can be just as good as gem grade black opals and white opals. They are just as stunning and unique to themselves. The ironstone gives the opal a more earthy appeal, and makes them much more unique than the majority of other gemstones in the market.

Where can I find boulder opal in Australia?

Boulder opal is found in the Western areas of Queensland in Australia. Mining locations include Koroit, Yowah, Eromanga, Quilpie, Duck Creek, Jundah, Opalton, Winton and Diamantina. Without going to these places which takes days of travel, you can find boulder opal to purchase at www.opalgalaxy.com

Questions about Crystal Opals

A Gorgeous Crystal Opal Ringstone

What is a crystal opal?

Crystal opals are opals that are transparent in nature; meaning that light can pass through them. We suggest setting crystal opals with a closed backing to trap light inside the opal, showcasing its colors and patterns to their best advantage. https://opalgalaxy.com/how-to-set-crystal-opals/

Is Crystal Opal valuable?

High quality crystal opal can be very valuable. We have sold the most expensive Crystal Opals on the market for $2500 USD per carat. We often see these sorts of prices with the best grade of Lightning Ridge discoveries; particularly from the Allawah mining area.

 

What are the benefits of opal crystal?

The benefit of crystal opals is the stunning look you can achieve whilst wearing them. Whilst there is no scientific evidence, some people may also believe that crystals can shield a wearer or holder of a crystal from bad energies, and even boost their energy levels and alignments with chakras and auras.

What is the difference between crystal opal and white opal?

Crystal opals are transparent, meaning that light can pass through them. Therefore it is best to set a crystal opal with a closed backing to trap the light inside of the opal and showcase its amazing colors and pattern. White opal on the other hand is not transparent; they have a solid body tone where light cannot pass through them.

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