Many of our buyers tell us one of our best features to help price opals is the “item Watch” option. Buyers can tick this option on any opal they are interested in and can follow the active bidding or watch what the opal sells for.
Our site is like a shopping mall with lots of different sellers who are trying to sell their opals. We have a strict guide to listing opals which outlines how to take photos and what wording to use for each type of stone. This creates a level playing field so you can compare different sellers opals against each other knowing that the information provided is uniform.
Our system administrators tell us that some buyers watch thousands of opals but we recommend limiting this number to between 1 and 100. This is easy to manage and follow. We recommend you pick specific types or sizes of opal.
Instead of just black opals, if you want to see the price range of 2 to 3 carat opals for a ring you can “item watch” opals in the No Reserve Opal Online Auctions category or directly in the Black Opal category so you can make an informed decision.
Opal is by far the most difficult gemstone to grade and price. There so many variables like color intensity, color pallet, patterns, body color and origin that all need to be considered when pricing an opal. For this reason there will naturally be some variation in prices between sellers.
In item watch you will also see that some sellers price a certain type opal cheaper than other sellers. This may be due to production or mining that results in to many similar opals or it could be that an opal miner hit a pocket. You will notice that gem quality opal cabochons are always in demand especially for ring stones.
Even our sellers use item watch to compare their opals against another seller to see that they are priced at fair market value.
Most opals have increased in price due to supply and demand. They are a finite resource and the areas where they found are extremely small. With new markets opening up such as China and Indonesia the interests in Australia opal is increasing while it is getting harder to find.
Production of black is down on the last few years. This is due to so many Government restrictions and there is a problem with accessing new fields with farmer’s increasingly rejecting applications from smaller miners seeking to drill.
Demand is super strong for N1 back opals with gem colour. Opal miners can sell these gems on the field at super high prices to buyers from overseas.
We expect black opal with a body tone of N1 or N2 to keep increasing in price.
Prices have also risen due to a shortage of black opal. Buyers are looking for alternatives and boulder opal represents a fantastic opportunity to buy large stones at a more affordable price. At the recent Lightning Ridge opal show over 80% of stalls had boulder opal for sale. Lightning Ridge is the home of black opal so it was a shock to see so much boulder. It is a sign of the way the market is changing.
Production has only just kept up with demand and once again we still see strong demand for clean bright boulder opals.
To date we consider these opals undervalued. They have always been the second rate cousin to boulder opal but they have some of the most beautiful patterns in opal.
Production is down as it is only a small field in Central Queensland. The biggest challenge is the cutting fee as most of these stones are cut in china. To cut and polish an opal used to cost $0.80 but now it is costing up to $3.50. Many shipments have been confiscated by Chinese customs because of import duties so now new cutting factories have started up in Thailand, Vietnam and India for this Koroit and Yowah opal.
The days of good value opals for $10 have gone as cutting costs and mining costs have escalated. We do not think these new factories will be able to cut and polish at cheap prices as buyers require good polish finish
Prices have fluctuated more with this opal than any other opal on our site. Majority are sold in the No Reserve Opal Online Auctions category so checking “item watch” prices can be very helpful.
It seems to be when good Ethiopian opals are listed that the price increases and when lower grade items are listed the price goes lower so it’s critical to manage item watch to follow these buying opportunities for Ethiopian opals both stones and rough.
The Ethiopian government is also trying to control this opal and so far they have not managed this correctly. They tried to ban rough sales than increase charges to export so price does depend a lot on what other restriction they place on export of rough opal as reports today is it is getting more and more difficult to get rough opals out of the country.
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