The term Crystal Opal refers to an Opal that is translucent or semi-translucent.
They have a high-purity level of Opal and when opaque (non-see-through) can also be well-known as White or Milk Opals. Compared with other Opals, they are composed of hydrated silica.
Blue Crystal Opals are most the common type of Crystal Opal. A rarer colour is orange with sunset red the rarest fire crystal colour.
Most Opal fields across the world produce some type of Crystal Opal, as it is formed with no base (like potch, ironstone or sandstone). It is appreciated by many for its rarity and unique colour patterns. The most well famous mines of Crystal Opal are -
The back of a Crystal Opal may be enhanced to increase its brightness, but these must be labeled “solid enhanced Crystal Opals” otherwise known as Opal doublets.
The refraction of light from a Crystal Opal is breathtakingly beautiful. Like most Opal each Crystal Opal displays a range of colours and patterns that is unique to each stone.
Some of the more famous patterns are the ‘Broken Flash’ and ‘Contra Luz’. The Broken Flash pattern displays two distinctive colours along the whole surface of the Opal. The Contra Luz pattern displays a play of colour when held up against a white light which produces an exploding multi colour flash like a rainbow.
In Australia the most expensive type of Crystal Opal is the Black Crystal Opal from Lightning Ridge, Queensland, Australia. They have some of the most amazing unique patterns and are well sought after by Opal collectors.This particular Crystal Opal is formed on black potch but still with transparent body. The Opal is considered to have a dark body tone.
Crystal Opal is also found in the Boulder Opal fields but once again they are rare to find and only really occur when pipe Opal is found. Another source of Crystal Opal is commonly found in the South Australian Opal fields and is formed as a part of the seam Opal.
Ethiopian Crystal Opal is mined in the Ethiopian Opals fields of Welo and has spectacular patterns from Honeycomb to patchwork and snake skin and is sometimes referred to as Ethiopian Fire Opal.
Ethiopian Crystal Opal is also found at Yita Ridge in the Menz Gishe District of Shewa Province, around 150 miles northeast of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The patterns and colours found in Ethiopian Crystal Opals are out of this world.
Crystal Opal is commonly used in Opal jewelry. This mineral is normally cleared of impurities by the Opal cutter and formed into a round, oval, droplet or open-form shape through the assistance of diamond and carborundum technology.
The dome of the Crystal Opal is polished to improve and make a perfect play of colour. Most translucent Crystal Opals are also often faceted like diamonds and and coloured gemstones. The colours that are revealed in faceted Crystal Opal is amazing.
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