Opal Trends focuses on Opal Auctions ‘Best Sales’ on a monthly basis. The monthly breakdown asses the top 4 opal categories: Black Opal, Boulder Opal, Rough Opal and Ethiopian Opal. This review is an important source for sellers and buyers to analyse which opals are currently best to invest on.
The opal market experiences trends and changes which can occur rapidly or gradually. There are several reasons this can occur. The production of opals in the field is not guaranteed, which means the supply is affected. The biggest trend has been the increase of younger buyers. The millennials (aged between 18-30 years) and the generation x (aged between 30-40 years) have been purchasing more opals online.
Our Opal Verified Sellers have sold 11,573 opals for this quarter, in comparison to 7699 for the same period last year and in value terms sales are up by 51.5%.
Record quantity for new listings of 23,603 opals listed by our verified sellers in this quarter.
Boulder opal was by far the best category in sales. The largest volume of new listings were also Boulder opal due to good production in most Queensland opal fields.
Opal mining at Lightning Ridge has been affected by severe drought conditions. Fortunately a handful of miners have found good deposits of opals, but generally most opal miners cannot wash their opal bearing dirt due to no water supply.
A record 104,524 opals were added to item watch in this quarter.
Our Opal Verified Sellers have sold 4,018 opals for the month of September, in comparison to 2,558 for the same period last year and in value terms sales are up by 57%.
Record quantity for new listings of 9,678 opals listed by our verified sellers in this month.
Black opal and Ethiopian opal sales were steady.
No Reserve Auctions and Make An Offer sale were also predominantly Boulder opal.
Item watch continues to have over 33,832 opals added by opal buyers to help track prices received.
Our Opal Verified Sellers have sold 3,932 opals for the month of July, in comparison to 2,640 for the same period last year and in value terms sales are up by 83%.
The top sale was a red fire 69 carats black opal for $10,000.00 and a 73 carat Welo opal that sold for $10,000.
We presume that the Hong Kong Riots contributed to buyers buying black opal (for investment).
Hong Kong buyers have been purchasing top end black opals for $7,000 to $9,000 and black rough opals for $5,000.
This is the first month that Hong Kong buyers have bought quality black opals and it seemed to be a direct response to their political problems.
United Kingdom opal buyers have been strong purchasers of opal between the price range of $300 to $500. Several times in the month they were placed number three in the top country ratings of sales.
Australia is experiencing drought conditions in the opal fields. Queensland has reasonable production for boulder opal but very little production for pipe or wood boulder opals. Many opal miners have had a reasonable year finding large pockets of opals. We hope this continues for opal miners to find new fields, but exploration and testing is very time consuming and expensive. Many small operators did not have good production and the mining will soon be over when temperatures get to hot.
Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, Australia is the home of the black opal. Opal production is down due to the drought. Miners cannot wash the material they mine.
Report was that one miner has placed 20 kilometres of piping to bring water to his mine and another trucks the opal bearing dirt 100 kilometres just to wash the opals.
Drought is in its 6th year now and shows no signs of rain. Many farmers do opal mining ventures and one farmer/opal miner spent all their funds on feeding their cattle but had to sell at a loss and now can’t afford to continue opal mining.
Now, only a hand full of miners have been able to mine and produce good parcels of opal, but it’s not enough to supply the black opal market.
Buyers have targeted top gem doublets with sales up 367% on last month.
Buyers have been purchasing top quality opal doublets and sales are frequently ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 especially opal doublet pairs.
Item watch continues to have over 38,350 opals added by opal buyers to help track prices received.
Our Verified Sellers have sold 3,280 opals for the month of July, in comparison to 2,501 for the same period last year and in value terms sales up 26%.
Two new records were broken in July: Item Watch and No Reserve sales.
No reserve auctions in July had record value sales, with top category large Ethiopian opals weighing between 10 to 20 carats and also a large opal rough specimens weighing between 40 to 120 carats.
There were 30,0693 opals added to ‘Item Watch’ in July by our buyers. This the most use of this item watch system as professional and hobbyists are all track the selling price of opals, with a new record number of items added this month.
Buyers are more educated with more knowledge of opals and are interested in following the current trends. We note buyers are following opals from all countries and all opal fields with so many buyers following hundreds of opal listings and some even thousands.
Black Opal sales have slowed down. This is also due to less listings as many opal miners are not being able to wash their rough. Fortunately a lot of rough is stockpiled at Lightning Ridge and is just waiting for the rain to arrive.
Some miners are running miles of water pipes to opal wash plants just to supply some rough until rains arrive.
The strongest demand was for Ethiopian and Boulder opals.
Matrix boulder opals under $100 had strong sales.
Ethiopian opals once again large sizes 5 to 12 carats had strong demand.
Rough opal was the top category and a lot of opal buyers follow no reserve opal rough.
All rough categories had strong buyers that are after quality rough opals.
A total of 6,642 new opals were listed during the month of
There were 10,572 opal lots sold in the last quarter, which is a 51.65% increase from the same period last year.
There were 87,557 opals added to ‘Item Watch’
New buyers and repeat professional opal dealers all use this program to keep up to date on opal prices.
There were 17,736 new opals listed during last quarter valued at $3,057,680.
Opal Auctions has 79,441 opals listed and with the sister site Treasure Auctions has 200,000 items listed live.
The demand is strong in $1,000 price point for Black opals and Ethiopian opals.
A record $40,000 black opal sold in this quarter with steady sales for $2,000 to $7,000 of Black, Boulder and Ethiopian Opals.
Our Verified Sellers have sold 3,495 opals for the month of June, in comparison to 2,520 for the same period last year.
Opal Auctions has $32,954,008 value of opals listed as of 30th June 2019.
The May sales have increased by 43.2% above last year on the same month.
Large size opals were in strong demand, including
There was a strong demand between the values of $1500 to $2250 for Black, Boulder and Ethiopian opals.
There were 28,053 opals added to ‘Item Watch’ in June by our buyers.
A total of 6,411 new opals were listed during the month of June.
Our Verified Sellers have sold 3,325 opals for the month of May, in comparison to 2,066 for the same period last year.
We had a record sale of $40,000 black opal at just under $10,000 per carat.
The May sales have increased by over 31%.
There was 31,325 opals added to ‘Item Watch’ in April by our buyers.
-We’ve had over $4 million dollar’s value of opals listed
-Over 10,000 opals have sold
-Opal Auctions had over 6 million page views
-Over 158,000 individual bids placed
Interestingly, within the last 1,000 buyers that came from Gem Rock Auctions, 95% of them have made Ethiopian Opal their first purchase before buying an Australian opal.
$1,022,072 worth of opals were listed.
Our Verified Sellers have sold 3,675 opals for the month of April , in comparison to 2,331 for the same period last year.
Sales increased by a massive 71% from last year’s figures of opals sold in April 2018. Black opals had the top sales per carat, but there were strong demands in each opal category.
Black opal red fire black opal 1.1. carats sold for $3360 or $3054 per carat.
Ethiopian opal 123 carats honeycomb pattern Phantom opal sold for $6,000.
Lightning Ridge crystal 2.20 carats sold $3800 or $1727 per carat
Boulder opal 3.1 carats sold for $4100 or $1322 per carat
Top category for April was Boulder Opal and there was just under 1,000 boulder opals sol. Boulder opal types include Koroit, Yowah and Pipe opal. Koroit and pipe opals averaged $45 and Boulder opals averaged $100.
28,386 opals were marked in item watch for April
5,789 new opal listings added during April.
$1,285,500 worth of opals were listed in April compared to $1,862,601 in March.
There were 10,039 opal lots sold in the last quarter, which is a 21.25% increase from the same period last year.
There was a high demand for Rough Opal which doubled compared to the same period last year. Rough Opal was our best selling category for March and for the quarter it was the third most popular category. We have never had Rough Opal at the top category on Opal Auctions until now.
Sales in Black Opal Rough was the strongest, followed by Boulder Opal and Coober Pedy Opal from parcels to sliced opals.
Black Opal Rough was 60% of the total Opal Rough sales, which consisted of parcel lots, rubs, semi black and gamble rough.
Boulder Opal Rough sales included Koroit and Yowah rough.
Other Rough include opals categories in Mexican, Honduran, Andamooka, Fairy and Pink Tiffany.
Several of our sellers had large lots of quality Black Opal Rough which is hard to find this quarter due to the severe drought, severe thunderstorms and flood that has recently occurred.
Sales are related to listings, with just under 1,000 opal rough lots that have sold this quarter to the new category of rubs.
Parcel lots averaged between $200 to $300 with larger parcels between $1,000 to $3,000. Most were parcel lots sold weighed between 100 to 500 grams and also large single pieces of rough. The strongest sales were Black Opal Rough, followed by Boulder Opal Rough which was neck to neck with Ethiopian and Brazilian Opal Rough.
Opal Auctions has approximately 85,000 opal lots listed and from that figure 27,000 have been added to Item Watch in March. This indicates that many of our buyers are doing their own product research.
Some rough opal parcels offered in No Reserve Opal Auctions had up to 500 buyers adding the listing to Item Watch. This feature is proving to be more popular than we realised and it has become the top tool for buyers to study what prices are achieved in No Reserve Auctions.
We recommend that all buyers and even sellers to try Item Watch to monitor market trends and follow prices that opals are sold for.
Make an Offer sales have greatly increased and sellers discount can vary considerably between sellers.
One general trend is that if opal miner has good production, then he is more likely to offer better deals. However when the production is low, they are less inclined to offer discounts.
Many Australian opal miners are running at break even or loss from loss production, the opal industry needs more opal miners to help find good opal pockets.
The Discovery Channel show ‘The Opal Hunters’ is now airing its second series in Australia and has been broadcast to 20 countries, excluding USA.
The Opal Hunters show follows the journey of various opal miners from Boulder to Black Opal. You see the day to day problems the opal miners experience and how difficult and costly it is to mine for opals. Most miners do not have much opals to show.
This section focuses on the B2B buyers purchases and feedback. Unfortunately most do not leave feedback as they are too busy purchasing and running their business.
Our surveys consistently indicate that people like to see feedback, but people leaving feedback seems to be slowing down with many B2B buyers not filling in the feedback section. Because of this, our system automatically leaves a positive feedback after 60 days.
Now less than 40% of buyers are leaving feedbacks, as buyers show confidence and keep purchasing form Opal Auctions Verified Sellers.
The pie graph below displays buyers that purchased over 90 days and surprisingly the 35-44 age group was the largest followed by the 25-34 age group. Younger generations are experiencing the enjoyment of owning opals.
Our Verified Sellers have sold 3,478 opals for the month of March, in comparison to 2,857 for the same period last year. It has increased by 20.97% from last year’s figures of opals sold. It has increased in value of 22.9% for the same period last year.
Opal Rough was the top category for the month of March.
The top sale was an 11 carat mackerel Black Opal pair that sold for US$22,950 which is US$2086 per carat.
The mackerel pattern was in good demand with a 14.6 carats dark opal selling for $9000 ($616 per carat).
The recent trend for opals has been the Brightness of the stone, rather than the Body Tone. We have observed this trend with our top sales. The pair of Black Opals has a body tone of N2 and the 14.6 carat opal has a body of N5.
Brightness and pattern are more highly considered now than the past, with sales increasing in the Dark or Semi Black Opal category.
In March, the Dark Opal Semi Black category was the fifth highest value category.
Boulder opals came out as the top category, just a fraction above Black Opal, followed by Ethiopian Opal.
Our Verified Sellers have sold 3,064 gemstones for the month of February, in comparison to 2,735 for same period last year. It has an increased 20 % on last year’s sales for the same period.
Rough opal sales were strong making this category third in volume, especially for black and boulder parcel deals.
EBay is classed as a wholesaler’s marketplace and Amazon is classed as retailer. Wholesale classification means selling in large quantities and Retail as selling small quantities.
B2B is the acronym for business to business sales and B2C is the acronym for business to consumer. Opal Auctions platform is a combination of both B2B and B2C.
Opal sales to the end consumer, direct from the opal miner or opal wholesale business has been the core to our business B2C. In the last 18 months we have seen a massive increase in B2B sales.
The average opal buyer will purchase 4 items over 90 days and 82% of buyers purchase 1-10 lots and can assume that most of these sales are from retail buyers.
B2B buyers are increasing with many buyers over 1,000 feedback and several with over 3,000.
Opal resellers, retail shops, market sellers and other online sites now see Opal Auctions as the market place to purchase Opals.
Non-English-speaking countries, from Asia to Europe are strong buyers in 50 to 500 feedback categories.
Pie graph: The chart shows the percentage of feedback for buyers with over 10 feedbacks who are classed as B2B buyers.
The opals sales for the month of January are predictably slower after the busy Christmas period. However this year we experienced a strong demand across all categories making this month our third best record.
A total of 3,536 opals were sold which is over 1,000 more opals in comparison to the same period last year.
There was no single opal category that had the top sales, although all the major categories such as Black Opal, Boulder Opal and Ethiopian Opal had strong demands. Brazilian and Mexican opals, along with opal jewelry had strong purchases.
We observed a strong demand for new listings of rough opals and sales to Europe increased slightly.
Opal buyers had time to research opal sub categories, which showed through the good value and quality sales that were made.
For example, Coober Pedy opal has 8 sub categories including parcel and pairs. Most of these sub categories had reasonable sales.
The quantity of mobile users who search and purchase on Opal Auctions has increased. The percentage of mobile users is currently 55.9% in comparison to tablets and desktops users.
Opal Auctions broke sale records. A record of 10,604 opals were sold last quarter with the highest ever mean average price as buyers focused on quality opals.
The dollar value of sale was up 29.5% for the quarter compared to the same quarter last year. The three top opal types Black, Boulder and Ethiopian opals each had a record month. November to December, buyers perferred Black Opals as the number one category. In October, Ethiopian and Boulder opals were the number one category.
Limited opal supply is impacting the number of listings increasing the average price.
Black opals had 5,300 listings compared to 6,500 listings year ago. This trend is expected to continue due to low production and drought.
The price point $1,000 - $3,000.00 has only 500 opals listed due to increased demand and limited supply.
Boulder opal had a good supply of new pipe and wood fossil opals with over 24,000 boulder opals listed.
But on price points $250 to $500 there are just over 1,000 opals listed.
Under $20 boulder has over 7,000 opals listed. This is currently the slowest category as the buying trend is to quality rather than price.
Re sellers prefer this price, but increasing cutting costs means prices are at levels that many sellers cannot list opals under $20.
Buyers are demanding strong and unique patterns. The top sale was $4,000 and at beginning of the month $1,000 to $1,500. Ethiopian opals with strong patterns and good cabochon were in demand.
In price points $300 to $1,000 there is only 680 opals listed. $1,00 to $1500 only 125 opals are listed. Majority of the Ethiopian opals sell in No reserve categories.
We monitor search terms on Google searches.
These searches are outside Opal Auctions and there has been a steady increase in opal searches over last three months.
Boulder opal had a massive spike up 376% in quarter and another spike at the end December. Spikes are generally the result of some sort documentary or article about opal that is general interest. But these spikes relate back to sales, so these results are exciting for the Opal industry.
Last quarter hundreds of new buyers registered, bid and purchased quality opals. These new buyers showed a degree of product knowledge and understood the rarity of opals. Generally new buyers search and buy a few inexpensive opals, but last quarter they purchased instantly for quality.
B2B sales were steady with re-sellers targeting boulder opals and Ethiopian opals instead of black opals but many retailers purchased black opals for resale to their clients.
There is extreme hot weather now in many Australian opal fields with some reporting average 44 degrees or around 110 Fahrenheit and some up to 50 degrees which is above 120 Fahrenheit. Most mining operation have now ceased and start back in March or April depending on weather conditions.
Opal sales for the month of December was strong over all categories with a massive increase of 72% in comparison to the same month last year. A total of 3,84 opals were sold making it the second best month of sales. December summary trends is that experienced buyers are searching for top quality opals.
Black opals had the strongest sals for the year with more top Gem black opals sold than in the previous four months. It appears that Black opals were the December King category in the whole site. Older buyers have preferred purchasing Black Opals over all the other opal varieties. The top sale was a $7,500 stone and the average was just under $3,000.
There was a good demand for clean quality boulder opals and wood fossil opals, with strong sales of $300 and upwards.
There was a strong demand for top quality stones. The stop sale of Ethiopian Opal was $4,000.
Opal rings under $300 were the most popular in the gold ring category, however sellers are finding it difficult to list at this price point with solid opals. As a result opal doublets and triplets are being listed instead.
What an incredible month it has been for Opal Auctions, as we achieve three huge records in November.
FIRST RECORD: Opal Auctions had record sales with 3920 high quality opals sold.
SECOND RECORD: A stunning 2 carat Lightning Ridge Crystal opal has sold for $5,700. That’s $2,850 per carat. For those interested to see this amazing opal, the item number is 726165 and the customer has left a very positive feedback. We have reported that crystal opal prices are increasing for several reasons and the new listings will also have a higher carat price.
THIRD RECORD: We have sold the largest quantity of top gem fire black opals than any other month of the year. The biggest demand for opals had the price points between $1500 to $5000.
Black opal is still on top of the list for the landing page. The demand has been consistent for small Black opals under 1 carat to 0.70 carat that are selling between $1000 to $1500. The top sale was a beautiful 5.03 carat Black opal that sold for $7,500 (item ID 742047).
Boulder opal sales were strong between the $300 to $750 price points.
Google searches for Boulder opals increased by 376% for the first week in November. We monitor Google analytics for opal searches and last year the searches fell approximately by 20% for opals During the last week on November, the searches for Koroit opals increased over 50% and over 40% for Black opals.
Ethiopian opals had steady demand between the $400 to $1,000 price points.
No Reserve auctions have gained popularity due to the increase use of mobile phones. In November, we had an average between 400 - 600 opals listed in comparison to 250 opal last year, and also the prices have been steady for this category. We added a new category for the No Reserve auction, with the starting bid of $15 and 25% of these auctions are selling which is expected.
Opal Jewelry sales were mostly larger sized jewelry pieces that sold between $500 to $750. It is the first time that more opal pendants have sold than opal rings.
The opal sales for the month of October was steady with 2,798 opals sold. The most popular category was boulder opal. Interestingly another highly sought after category includes boulder polished and rough sub categories ranging from Koroit opal, Yowah opal, Pipe opal, boulder opal pairs and boulder opal parcels. One of the most active price points was for cabochon opals around the $1000 mark and also Ethiopian opals were in very high demand. Last year we had nearly 800 opals around this price and now we have less than 500, with only 135 Ethiopian opals, 164 boulder and 198 black opals to choose from.
This month we provide an in depth information on the macro and micro opal trend report due to the many factors effecting opal supply and pricing.
Black opal sales have been steady however the volume of new listings is down due to the current drought resulting to lower production. New listings are down 15% in comparison to the same time last year. In figures it translates to 6,500 black opals listed in October last year, but only 5,500 this year.
Many opal buyers have reported that they can’t spend their money on the opal fields at Lightning Ridge and are worried about the $10,000 cash payment which will be illegal from 1st July 2019. If opal buyer pays miner over $10,000 cash, they are both breaking the law and fines will be applied.
The top opal sale was a one-carat semi black or dark opal that sold for $3,000 per carat. We have noticed a shift of opal preference from opals with body tone of N1 to now the brightness of an opal. Buyers prefer brightness to body tone.
Crystal opals mined from Coober Pedy and Australia are experiencing a high demand and unfortunately a price increase. We have mentioned in previous reports that opal prices from these opal fields will increase.
An overview of the macro report is that the Chinese buyers are leaving the opal fields due to price increase. One major Sydney based company is closing due to this price increase and as a result they cannot buy rough to cut and resell. Another Australian wholesaler has raised the price of crystal opals up to 25% and have warned of higher increases in the near future.
It will be interesting to see the adverse affect of the increase price on the Australian Crystal opal and if it will directly influence the demand for calibrated Ethiopian opals.
October sales were good for Boulder opals in Volume and price as the number one category. For sales, the top categories include Boulder with sub category’s ranking high as rough boulder opal and Pipe opal.
The No Reserve opal sales have nearly doubled since last year. Between 400 to 600 No Reserves items are constantly listed every month and it has proven to be a very popular and fun category for opal buyers. No Reserves sale is dominated by Ethiopian opal followed by Australian boulder opal. Many opal sellers have reported consistent sales for top quality opal. Many sellers have seen bidding wars on their good quality opal listings.
Good new, we have added a new sub category starting at $15 with no reserve to Opal Auctions. We are excited to see the activity for this new category.
Many repeat opal buyers have their own strategy in buying opal. Buyers have an option of bidding in $1.00 $5.00 or $10 increments and recently buyers have not been placing their highest amount bid on automatic, as example this opal (Click here to see the auction) had 341 bids to sell for $996.
The No Reserve category is far more popular than what it was a year ago, and we expect this trend to keep increasing the sales in this category. Buyers are now enjoying the fun of auctions and find it easy to get captivated following the style of the No Reserve in Opal Auctions.
We have reported about price increases and how there are a lot of factors forcing the price increases for the future. Chinese buyers have changed their purchasing patterns. A few years ago they would purchase top end black opals, today they are still buying black opals however they are purchasing more quantities of middle to lower range opals to be placed in rings stones valued under $500. Chinese buyers have also been buying Coober Pedy opals for over a century, but unfortunately most full-time buyers have now left the town as they cannot make business due to rising opal rough prices.
Indian buyers have now replaced them and as a result the price for lower grade opals has greatly increased. Chinese have been purchasing quality clean boulder opal, and we expect this to increase. Chinese buyers have also been purchasing crystal rough in large parcel lots that are mined from Opal fields like White Cliffs. Reports have showed many opal deals worth over $100,000 for bright crystals that cost under $50 per opal. The opals mined in White Cliffs have not been available online until now.
This month there are many drilling rigs searching for opals in the fields of Lightning Ridge in comparison to last year. The average drilling rig was working only between 2-3 days, and now they are working between 5-7 days. This is good news, more time spent searching and drilling might result to finding new opal fields or pockets of black opals.
Many opal buyers would be surprised to know that now you need over $100,000 to do commercial opal mining. Open cut mining pits can be up to 5 to 10 times that amount. At present we know of three open cut open mines that are losing money, as costs are so high. The opal miners are under considerable stress financially and we hope they find opal dirt soon. If large-scale mines can’t be profitable, it will make the opal industry contract. Currently hobby miners need a minimum of $10,000 to invest for cost and must comply to regulations by completing a mines department course before they can begin the opal mining.
Buyers land on black opal categories and purchase a variety opals from different opal fields. Opal buyers aged between 45-54 years spend the longest amount of time on Opal Auctions and spend the most compared to the other age categories. Opal buyers prefer to view newer listings the most and spent the longest time in the categories shown below.
The opal sales for the month of September was steady with 2,563 opals sold. Although the quantity of opals sold this month has remained steady, the average sales price of opal has increased in comparison to the last three months. The best performing category for September was Ethiopian opals. The buyers favoured the high quality stones from this category.
The sale trend for Ethiopian opals are for 10 to 30 carats, with good patterns, colors and high cabochon. These are in high demand due to the great price point and also being a good size stone for large rings. We expect the market to remain strong for these opals, especially those that are used as ring stones. Our analytics shows that buyers of Ethiopian opals have spent more time on this category than all our other categories on Opal Auctions. We had a recent instance of a seller who had listed a GIA certified Ethiopian opals and it had sold instantly. Our sister site Gem Rock Auctions is also experiencing a high demand for Certified Gemstones.
There is also a strong demand also for bright crystal opals and bright Coober Pedy opals. The demand for new listings of these opals are strong. We believe it is due to the new supply and recent new listings of bright material, which are now becoming hard to find. We expect in prices to increase in the Coober Pedy Opal category in the near future.
Black opals had some good sales for rings stones that weighed between 0.9 to 1.5 carats. However new listings are slow for black opals due to the current drought.
Boulder opals had the most volume of sales. The top three categories were Boulder Opal Stones, Boulder Pipe Opal and Yowah Opal Stones.
The sales for opal jewelry has increased compared to last year due to the sales from gold rings and silver pendants.
We have seen a rise in sales for Rough Opal. In particular, parcel deals that are priced between $150 to $300 and a few parcels selling for over $1,000.
The Opal sales for the month of August were steady with 2,656 opals sold. This is a slight 15% increase in comparison to the same period last year.
The top opal sale was a gem Black opal that weighs 1.13 carats and had sold for $5,000.00
New listings of black opal were lower this month due to a drought, which affects washing of opal bearing dirt. Therefore black opal sales were low in price points between $100 to $500.00 and as a result buyers purchased more of Boulder opal, pipe or wood and Ethiopian opal as an alternative.
Opals in gold ring sales were stronger than opal in gold pendant. Majority of the buyers preferred instant Buy It Now purchases instead Make an Offer.
The opal sales for the month of July were steady with 2,502 opals sold. There is a slight increase of 14% compared to the same period last year.
The top opal sold was a stunning $3,000 Ethiopian opal that weighed over 15 carats.
New listings of opal doublets and crystal opals had a strong demand.
Black opal sales were slow to steady and there was also a high demand for boulder pipe opals.
There is a big trend for repeat buyers that are seeking a variety of new stock. These buyers are looking for a large range of different opal types. Due to this interest from our buyers, many categories had reasonable sales.
The No Reserve category has a new record this month, with a whopping 400 items listed with a starting bid of one dollar. July is considered as a buyers a month, with plenty of opals selling for very low prices in the No Reserve.
The total amount of opal sold in this financial quarter is 6,973. Our top 6 categories, as listed below have been consistent in both the searches and the sales. In this quarter we have noticed that our sub categories have been searched eagerly by opal buyers, for example new listings of Boulder Opal reveal as the most searched category. This is a result from new listings of Pipe Opals and Wood Fossil Opals. Another example of a well-searched category with strong sales is Mintabie Rough Opal. The geographical trend of our buyers shows that the majority are based in the USA. Interestingly we have an increase of Boulder Opal sales from customers based in European countries such as France, Germany and Switzerland. The sales from our opal buyers that are based in Britain and Canada have remain stable. The sales are also generally lower in Asian countries such as Taiwan, China and Singapore, however there were good sales from customers based in Japan.
The quality items are in high demand, with Black Opal revealed as the top sale item. This quarter we had new listings of Mintabie opals and South Australian Opal Rough, which contributed to the strong sales in these two categories. As always, the ‘No Reserve’ category proves to be very popular as volume sales continue to increase.
The top black opal sold this quarter was over $3000 per carat. In the past, buyers showed preference for opals which had N1 body tone. This quarter the buyers showed more interest for opals that were brighter, which resulted to the increase in sales for semi black opals.
Boulder opals listed under the $300 price point proved to be very popular this quarter, with an increase of opals sales under Pipe Opal and Wood Fossil Opal categories.
Ethiopian opals were the most popular opals sold the No Reserve International category, whilst Boulder Opals were the most favoured under the Australian No Reserve category.
Out of the total 54 categories on Opal Auctions, 22% of the sales are from the No Reserve category and 78% are from the rest of the categories.
From these Opal Rough sub categories, Black Rough Opal from Lightning Ridge in both single and parcel lots proved to be the most popular in this quarter, whilst Boulder Opal Rough had a lower demand. This was most likely due to the strong demand for the finished stone and also due to the lack of new listings for Boulder Rough. New listings for Mintabie Rough were snapped by quickly by repeat buyers who knows how rare this opal will become when the Mintabie Township and mining will close down.
Ethiopian opals are the most popular category in the International No Reserve category. With Mexican opals increasing in sales in the end of the quarter.
There was a strong demand for large cabochon Ethiopian opals that weighed over 10 carats and contained good patterns. The demand was lower for treated smoked Ethiopian opal.
There was a strong demand for Gold Opal Rings between the price points of $290 to $325 and also between $900 to $1250. Gold opal rings had the highest price point sold over all the other sub categories from Opal Jewelry.
1. Black Opal / Black Opal Stones
2. No Reserve Opal Online Auctions / International Opals
3. Boulder Opal / Boulder Opal Stones
4. No Reserve Opal Online Auctions / Australian Opals
5. Ethiopian Opal / Ethiopian Opal Stones / Welo Opal Stones
6. Ethiopian Opal / Ethiopian Opal Stones
7. Rough Opal / Black Opal Rough
8. Rough Opal / Black Opal Rough / Black Opal Rough Parcels
9. Boulder Opal / Yowah Opal Stones
10. Boulder Opal / Boulder Pipe crystal
11. Opal Jewelry / Opal Pendants / Gold Opal Pendants / Gold Black Opal Pendants
12. No Reserve Opal Online Auctions / Jewelry Only
13. No Reserve Opal Online Auctions / Rough & Specimens Only
14. Boulder Opal / Boulder Opal Wood Fossils
15. Rough Opal / Mintabie Opal Rough
16. Rough Opal / Ethiopian Opal Rough
17. Rough Opal / Boulder Opal Rough / Boulder Opal Rough Parcels
18. Opal Triplet / Opal Triplet Parcels
19. Mexican Fire Opal / Mexican Fire Opal Stones / Cantera Opal Stones
20. Rough Opal / Boulder Opal Rough
The Opal sales for the month of May were steady with 2,082 Opals sold. The top Opal sale was a gem Black Opal weighing 2.60 carats that sold for $8,500, representing $3,270 per carat. Black Opals experienced a high volume of searches from buyers, however they purchase Opals in different Opal categories. Some categories had substantial increases in sales compared to the same period last year.
Coober Pedy Opal sales have increased by 276%. This was due to two factors, the Opal Hunters discovery TV series which showcased Opal mining in Coober Pedy and also due to our sellers listing better quality Opals during the month. We expect the demand to continue strongly in this category.
Opal Triplet sales have increased by 248%. Once again our sellers have been listing top quality triplet gems and the demand was strongest for these top end Opals.
Doublet Opal sales increased by 105% with the strongest demand for parcel lots. The Opal jewelry manufacturers have been the strongest buyers in this category.
Boulder Opals sales increased by 14%, this category has seen strong demand continually for the past 6 months.
Rough Opal sales are up by 65%, with a strong demand for commercial style Black and Boulder Opal parcels that are ideal for volume cutting.
Ethiopian, Black and Crystal Opals were steady with no increase of sales. Black Opal jewelry had strong sales in the 18k gold pendant category.
The sales were below average for April, this was due to the record month in March which has affected the purchasing of repeat buyers. This month 2,357 Opals have been sold and we’ve also reached a new record of 350,000 Opal sales since Opal Auctions began.
Boulder Opal – The Boulder Opal category had the strongest sales this month. Our buyers spent on average over 10 minutes viewing Boulder Opal auctions, which is double the average amount of time spent viewing in other Opal categories.
Parcel Lots – There was a strong demand for parcel lots in April. White Opals, Crystal Opals and parcels of newly listed Mintabie rough Opal were snapped up quickly as they were being listed.
The Mintabie Opal fields are due to close by the Australian Government. This has resulted in an increase of demand as many Opal collectors are trying to source this material while it’s still available.
Ethiopian Opal– Ethiopian Opal was the second most searched for and purchased Opal for April.
Customer Device Usage - Over 63% of our Opal buyers now use their mobile phones or tablets while 37% use their desktop computer.
Customer Gender - 52.7% of our Opal buyers are male and 47.3% are female.
New Customers vs Returning Customers - 52.6% of our Opal buyers are return customers and 47.4% are new customers.
Ages of Opal Buyers - Good news! Younger buyers are now enjoying Opals.
The percentages of each age group based on an average session on Opal Auctions
25-34 - 28.3%
35-44 - 19.4%
55-64 - 16.6%
45-54 - 16.0%
18-24 - 10.7%
65+ - 9.0%
Opal Auctions has had another record month with a strong demand across all categories.
BLACK OPALS - The top sale was a large black opal of 24 carats for $24,500 at just over $1,000 per carat. Good quality black opals between 1-3 carts sold around $1500 per carat and small black opal that weighed under one carat sold between $200 to $300 per carat. Opal sellers were listing more small black opals than usual around the 0.80 carats and had sold well. Black opal sales under $100 are slow and demand is for high quality ring stone priced between $900 to $3,000.
BOULDER OPAL - Once again boulder opal was the stand out category with an average opal selling for $117. Boulder opals under $150 were the strongest in this price point as buyers have a large selection to choose from.
The total items listed in each category below $150 are:
Another reason why boulder opals have the most volume sales is due to the wood fossil boulder opals. Approximately 18 months ago there was only 20 wood fossil boulder opals listed, but now over 1,000 are listed and thousands have already sold. Late in 2017 several boulder opal miners found large pockets and this particular opal field have been very popular with buyers for producing large unique boulder opals. Boulder pipe opals were also popular and it sells out quickly. Black Opal is searched three times more compared to Boulder opal however buyer purchase more Boulder opals due to lower price points and represents good value.
ETHIOPIAN OPAL - The demand for low grade Ethiopian crystal opals were low as buyers look for top pattern large caboched opals around $100 per carat. Cabochon opals 10 to 20 carats were in high demand. Several 10-15 carat opals sold between $900 to $1500. It was not only honeycomb pattern, but all unique patterns opals cabochon sold well.
OPAL JEWELRY - Opal ring sales have increased in March due to the new Guest checkout system. Good black and boulder gold rings were selling around $390 to $590 and had the highest demand. The top price was just under $3,000 for black opal ring.
CHANGE IN BUYING STRATEGY - No Reserve Auction was steady at 30% sales, however it had a low demand for bottom grade opals. Make An Offer strategy had doubled last years figures and the buyers are enjoying this easy system of buying. The Guest Checkout system for single items purchases accounted for a staggering 25% of the sales, which is especially strong in the one-off purchases of opal jewelry. Also another advantage of the Guest Checkout is that retail shops are using this sytem to be discreet.
DOUBLET OPAL - For the first-time doublet opal appeared in top 5 categories. The price points of $150 to $350 were strong, with top end sales around $1250. Searches and demand for doublets are now increasing.
In header bar of the website you can view the top 5 categories in order of the highest value. This system changes weekly and is a great indication of what type opal has the highest demand.
The February opal sales were affected by our improvement to the new online system. Many of the buyers were confused with the difference between’ Guest Checkout’ and the “Buy It Now’.
The last two weeks of sales returned back to normal figures after the initial change to the new system. There were 2,749 opals sold for the month of February.
The top sale was a black opal that sold for $4,000. The Black opal category received twice as many hits than Boulder opals and Ethiopian opals, however Boulder opals was the top category for volume and sales.
The last week of February, we identified high searches on the site for Ethiopian opals. There were strong sales for Ethiopian opals weighing between 5 to 12 carat and for prices that ranged between $500 to $1800. These strong selling opals featured high cabochons and interesting patterns.
We observed that most of the new buyers using ‘Guest Checkout’ were Ethiopian opal buyers. Our Guest Checkout is designed to assist one-off opal buyers who do not need or want to register on the site.
The No Reserve opal auctions were steady with complete variety of different opals selling with strong bids.
The top category for the month of February is Boulder opal. Boulder opal rough, rubs and stones sold exceptionally well.
January and June are usually the slowest months during the year, however this month we are up 22% more than last year’s January sales. This month 2,685 opals have sold. Currently Opal Auctions have sold 342,447 opals to date.
The top opal sale was a 152-carat Black opal that sold for $11,500. The price per carat was only $75 for a quality Black opal specimen.
Clean Black opals that are suitable for rings priced between $800 and $1200 were in good demand. Two-carat Black opals priced around $3000 were also in demand. Good Black opals were selling up to $1500 per carat.
Boulder opals stones had the most volume sold with so much good value between $300 to $500 opals.
Ethiopian opals sold in the No Reserve Category were selling for only $10 per carat, however there was a demand for larger and better quality Ethiopian opals. There were several dark brown Ethiopian opals that sold for $900 and $1000. The top sale for Ethiopian opals was a 42-carat high domed opal that sold for $3,000. There is a trend for buyers that seek out high domed Ethiopian opal ring stone that show a good pattern.
Traditionally January is the strongest selling month for Rough opal. Boulder rough had the highest demand and sold well in the No Reserve Rough Opal Category. Ethiopian opal sold at the lower price end.
The Black opal rough sales were steady. New listings of Black opal rough were not showing enough color bars to entice buyers.
Crystal rough sales have crashed. We predict that it is due to all the synthetic opal jewelry in the market that are replacing the natural crystal rough, which are used for inlay in opal jewelry.
The current trend for the age demographic of Opal buyers -
Good news for the opal industry is that younger buyers have now discovered opal!
18-24-year old’s buyer purchase more items than 65 plus opal buyers.
25-34-year old’s buyer purchase more items than 55-64 opal buyers.
Older buyers are staying longer on site however they buy less than the younger buyers.
Buyers that purchase from mobile devices make up 52.9% of sales, tablets are 9.7% and desk top are 37.4% This month 54.7 % of the sales were from return customers.
The December sales were steady after a record month in November. The first week of sales was slower than normal however it there were a total of 2,650 opals sold for the month. It was an interesting quarter with a total of 9,576 opal lots sold.
USA was the largest market and 43% of buyers were repeat customers in this quarter. The increase in sales came from secondary buyers that are located outside in USA. These buyers are re-sellers which promote and sell on other online platforms or markets in their country.
We had a group of strong buyers from Kuwait, France, Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, Russia and China that purchased single items. These countries are non-English native speakers, which gives them an advantage to sell our Australian opals in their country.
Chinese buyers have dropped this year due to the Chinese Government blocking online sites that are associated with PayPal, Google or USA links. This results to Opal Auctions not being visible in China, however Chinese buyers are routing through Japan to purchase opal for China. Japanese sales have increased but they are transit sales only.
Another fundamental change is older buyers aged between 55 and 65 years are now spending more time on the website, however they are buying less. In comparison the younger buyers aged between 30-40 years are spending less time but spending more. We have observed buyer habits which are changing rapidly for Opals. The popularity of opals within the younger generation, millenials and gen X have been increasing.
Black opal and Ethiopian opal have experienced top sales between $3,000 to $5,000 and the strongest demand are for opals priced between $300 to $500.
Boulder opals had the same strong demand for clean $500 opals and boulder specimens selling between $800 to $1,500.
No Reserve opals slowed down in the last two weeks. The silver opal jewelry sold well in first two weeks.
Listings from Australians sellers had slowed down during this month due to the closure of opal mines experiencing excessive temperatures between the range of 40 to 50 degrees.
This month is record month on Opal Auctions. There has been strong demand across all sections in the opal categories. Sales volume were steady at 3,523 opals sold, however they were higher values compared to the previous quarter. Our first ever Black Friday and Cyber Monday opal promotion resulted in many new buyers purchasing opals in our ‘Make An Offer’ promotion. Our sellers reduced their prices in the ‘Make An Offer’ which resulted to buyer purchasing several items. Generally, the demand was strong for better quality opals across the categories, especially for quality opals that feature more character and uniqueness. There is an increasing popularity for opals worldwide. United States has been the strongest market followed by Europe, with strong sales in Asia which are usually not strong buyers, and surprisingly island countries in the Caribbean purchased higher priced opals.
Black opals sales had very a strong demand in the price range between $1,000 to $4,000 that were bright black opals with an N1 body tone. Sales for the higher end black opals with a lighter body tone of N2 to N4 were strong aswell, however they all seem to show bright fire colours. This proved to be important to buyers. Lower value black opals that bad picture stones also sold well.
The strongest demand were for boulder opals between the $50 to $300 price range, that showed a lot of character, especially ones that had veins or opals with either horizontal or vertical patterns. The lower end that ranged under $50 were steady. The boulder opals that sold under $1000 proved to have a quality of clean and bright colours, enhibited character inclusions or had veined lines. The category that had the highest sales volume were between $20 to $50.
Opal specimens sold well this month for black opals, boulder opals and parcel lots of boulder rubs. The sales showed a good demand for boulder opals wiht a clean face.
Repeat Ethiopian Opal buyer are always searching for unique patterns between the price points of $1,000 to $3,000. The demand is strong for $300 opals with reasonable pattern, however if the pattern is average the price drops considerably. Lower priced opals sold well in the ‘No Reserve Category’.
Silver opal rings, earrings and pendants in all categories of opal jewelry sold well with solid opals, doublets and triplets. Opals set in 18k gold rings were in steady demand, with jewelry over 15% of the total sales.
No Reserve auctions had on average 300 items listed compared to an average 150 items in the previous months. The demand was steady for Ethiopian opals in parcel lots and opal jewelry, especially parcel lots for resellers world-wide are stocking up before the Christmas rush. Single boulder rubs have also sold steady.
The was 3,325 opals sold in total, which is approximately a 10% from September sales. There was a high demand for Boulder Opals, especially Wood Vegetation Opals which were under $300, and also clean boulder stones in the $1,000-$2,000 price bracket. Black opals around the $2,000 price point were in high demand. Ethiopian opals came up strong at both under the $100 price point and between $2,000-$5,000 price range. Rough boulder parcels at around $250 with volume cutters and Jundah pipe opals were in solid demand.
On September 2017, there was a total of 3,018 opals sold, which is approximately a 17% increase from August sales. Boulder opals and Ethiopian opals came through equally strong in volume sales. The top category was Black Opal with sales between the $5,000 to $10,000 price points. Buyers bought a variety of rough opals ranging from Gamble parcel deals to clean rubbed opals.
There were 2,591 opals sold, paid and shipped for the month of August 2017. Sales have been steady for all categories however Boulder Opal sales were the strongest. The demand was strong for the newly listed Wood Fossil Boulder Opals, with the weakest deman for the lower grade boulders under $20. Black Opals and Ethiopian Opals were both steady, with a few sales on both categories ranging over the $3,000 range, but most sales averaged around the $1,000 price point.
Was this article helpful?16 people found this article helpful