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Types Of Opal - A Large Variety Of Opal's Aesthetic Appeal


The opal stone is well-known for its shiny and multicolored appearance, which is what draws many people's attention to it. You might be surprised, given its little appearance, to learn that in ancient times it was also employed as a protection stone.

One of the many wonderful properties of this stone is that it has types of opal that can be used for a variety of purposes.

A Science Description Of An Opal Gemstone

What Is Opal - Gemstone Facts and Information

An explanation of what opal is: "An amorphous, non-crystalline gem mineral that solidified from gelatinous or liquid silica that was left behind by decaying plants, wood, crustaceans, and bones."

COPYRIGHT_BER: Published on https://www.bernardine.com/types-of-opal/ by Barbara Mitchell on 2022-09-18T16:37:16.648Z

Very valuable in its "black" form and has a good amount of water in it. SiO2 plus H2 O is the symbol for chemistry.

It Also Symbolizes Something That Will Benefit You

What is an opal a sign of? Opals have traditionally stood for hope, purity, and the truth, and the 14th wedding anniversary gift is an opal. In the past, opal was thought to be a stone of loyalty and trust. It was often worn as a charm to bring about loyalty and trust.

What Is The Difference Between Precious And Common Opal?

Common opal does not show the dance of spectral colors that is characteristic of precious opal, which can be seen throughout the stone.

The color of common opal ranges from opaque to translucent and is described as having a brownish-orange color; nevertheless, it can come in any color and many of those colors are highly appealing.

Different Types Of Opal

Natural Opal Gemstone

 A blue opal stone that is still coneted on its host rock
A blue opal stone that is still coneted on its host rock

Opals are considered to be natural if they have not been changed or improved by human help in any way, with the exception of being cut and polished. Opals seen in nature are usually classified as either light, dark or black, boulder, or matrix.

Even though boulder opal has a backing made of ironstone, it is still considered to be a natural solid opal because the ironstone backing is formed by natural processes. The body tone and transparency of a natural opal are the two features that are used to classify the different types.

Opals that have not been changed in any way from their natural condition, other than the fact that they have been shaped and polished into a gem.

What does opal look like in nature?

Most of the time, natural opals are called light, dark or black, boulder, or matrix. Even though boulder opal is backed by ironstone, it is still considered a solid natural opal because the ironstone backing is a natural feature.

The two things that make natural opal different are its body tone and how clear it is.

Boulder And Matrix Opal

A triangular brown boulder and matrix opal with different refraction colors
A triangular brown boulder and matrix opal with different refraction colors

Boulder matrix opal is a type of matrix opal that is almost only found in the boulder opal fields in Queensland (Australia). In this material, the opal fills either the holes in some ironstone nodules, like Yowah nuts, or the edges of some ironstone concretions.

When opal is grown in narrower veins and is cut and polished inside the host rock, it changes into these types. Boulder opal was first found in the Australian state of Queensland. It is also found in Brazil and Canada.

Is matrix opal expensive?

This shows off the matrix opal's beautiful natural colors, some of which are the same color as the black opal. The price range is $15 per carat to $150 per carat.

Black Opal Gemstone

A solid black oblong opal
A solid black oblong opal

Even though there are a lot of black opals on the market, high-quality black opal is hard to find because it has such a strong color contrast between its dark body and the rainbow flashes that shine across it.

Black opals are so rare that only one place is known to make them: Australia. In fact, the town of Lightning Ridge is where most of the opals on the continent are found. To give you an idea of how big this is, there are 1,000 people living in Vatican City, and there are just over 2,000 people living in Lightning Ridge.

Why Is It Called Black Opal?

Black opal gets its name from the dark gray to the black color of its body. The color stands out much more because the stone is dark than if it were white.

White Opal Gemstone

An oblong white opal
An oblong white opal

Australian white opals are also called "milk" or "milky" opals because of their light body color. This is shown in the chart below under "light opal." White opals, like any other kind of opal, can show any color of the rainbow in a beautiful play of color.

White opal is more common but it doesn't show colors as well as black opal because of the color of its body. Even so, if a good quality stone is found, the color of a white opal can still be stunning.

What does a white opal look like?

As you can see in the picture, white opal can show any mix of colors from the rainbow, like red, blue, purple, and green.

Crystal Opal Gemstone

An oblong crystal opal with different colors of refraction
An oblong crystal opal with different colors of refraction

The term "crystal opal" can refer to any type of opal (including black opal, white opal, and semi-black opal), provided that the body of the opal is transparent, translucent, or even semi-translucent. This characteristic of a stone is also referred to as its "diaphaneity."

When an opal is completely transparent or translucent, it may give the impression that one is seeing through glass. Crystal opal can either have a Black, Dark, or White Body tone.

Is opal considered a crystal?

Opal is one of the few minerals that does not have a crystalline structure. Opal is not a solid shape, but it does have some other unique qualities. It consists of numerous tiny silica spheres.

Fire Opal Gemstone

An oblong reddish-orange fire opal
An oblong reddish-orange fire opal

Fire opal is an amorphous mineraloid made up of tiny hydrated silica spheres that reflect most of the light in a reddish-orange spectrum. Even though fire opal is often wrongly called a "mineral," it is not one because it doesn't have its own crystalline structure.

What does a fire opal look like?

Fire opal is either clear or slightly see-through, and its body color is usually yellow, orange, or red. This material, which can change colors, is also called "Mexican opal" or "Mexican fire opal" in the trade.

Types Of Opal Patterns

The following types of opal patterns are covered:

  • Rolling Flash
  • Sky of Mackerel
  • The Boulder Matrix.
  • Moss.
  • Harlequin.
  • Broadflash.
  • Cloverleaf.
  • Feather.

How Do I Know What Type Of Opal I Have?

The two things that make natural opal different are its body tone and how clear it is. Body Tone: The base tones of light, dark, and black opal range from colorless, and white, through the different shades of grey, to black. Opals of any body color can be opaque, translucent, or see-through.

How Can You Tell A Good Quality Opal?

A good opal should have a cut that is even on both sides. If it's a cabochon, the top of the dome should be smooth.

The best color play is on domed surfaces, which also make the stone look bright from most angles. If the cabochon is flat, it could break easily, especially if it is going to be set into jewelry.

What Is The Most Valuable Type Of Opal?

Why Black Opal Is So Expensive | So Expensive

The most valuable opal is black opal, which can sell for more than AUD $15,000 per carat. The body color of boulder opals is also dark. White opals have a light body color and are usually the least valuable type of opal.


Opal is one of the most beautiful, unique, and interesting birthstones. Opal is amorphous, which means it doesn't have a clear crystalline structure like most gems. It can be many different shapes and colors, so it is hard to tell what it will look like.

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About The Authors

Barbara Mitchell

Barbara Mitchell - Barbara is recognized by the industry leaders for her passion and objective to make beautiful jewellery accessible, affordable and forever wearable. She designs custom made jewelery made of gold and diamonds for more than 20 years. Her website, bernardine.com has been mentioned in many books such as "The 12 Gemstones of Revelation", "Teens Have Style!", "10-Minute Crystal Healing" and websites such as wikipedia.org, etsy.com, buzzfeed.com, yahoo.net.

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