There are so many types of Opals on the market that it can sometimes be overwhelming to try and identify them all. Lucky for you at Opal Auctions we have all the different types of opals so you can easily explore and understand the difference between them. In this article we are going to explain each of the different types of opals including Black Opal, Crystal Opal, Boulder Opal, Yowah and Koroit Opal and the smaller Opal fields like Mintabie and Tintenbar. Also we will talk about the important international Opals from Ethiopia, Mexico, Honduras, African and South American Opals.
It is only a very small Opal field but is known for its treated matrix Opal sandstone and has spectacular colours.
This Opal field is only new and situated in the deserts of Western Australia and the Ppal has resemblance to Mexican fire Opal. It comes in brilliant sun burnt orange to red colours.
Black Opal is by far the most popular and well know type of Opal. It is characterized as Opal that has a dark body color. To understand how to judge the body tone of an Opal be sure to check this article.
Most black Opal is mined in Lightning Ridge, NSW, Australia. When people talk about Black Opals they are referring to stones that have come from this region.
Dark Opalis Opal that has a dark base but that is not dark enough to be called Black Opal.
Using the Base Body Tone chart you can see that a Black Opal has a body tone of N1 to N4. Dark Opal however has a body tone of N5 to N7.
White Opal refers to Opal with a white milky body tone. Most of this type of Opal comes from Coober Pedy in South Australia. While this Opal is beautiful it does not show off the Opal colors as well as the Black Opal.
This is because Black Opal amplifies the colors with the contrasting dark background. Most White Opal have muted pastel colors.
Boulder Opal is Opal that has formed along with another rock called ironstone. Most of this type of Opal comes from the Opal fields in Queensland where there is a huge belt that spreads thousands of kilometers where this type of Opal is produced.
Within the realm of Boulder Opal there are various types which deserve their own mention-
solid matrix opals from Andamooka are much more expensive than concrete matrix in rough.
The term “sugar treatment” refers to carbonization. Also, because there are other methods to change base color of matrix opals than just boiling in sugar and acid and the result is the same: filling pores with carbon.
Australia once had an inland sea millions years ago, so today you can find, if your lucky opalised marine life including sea shells, belemites and opalized marine life to remains of huge dinosaurs. It is rare to find pieces that are opalised but many collectors enjoy these unique specimens.
Also a new Opal field in Western Australia which is a variety of Mookaite and has a really good polish and predominantly opaline silica with a high vitreous luster.
Most Crystal Opal is Opal that is clear like water. It has flashes of color on a clear jelly body. It is important to note that crystal Opal must be transparent to semi-transparent. In rarer cases crystal opal can actually be dark (semi-transparent) which gives rise to terms like Black Crystal Opal.
Opal doublets are made from natural Opal that has been mined out of the ground. In many cases the Opal is too thin to use by itself so it is glued to a backing to add strength.
Mosaic Opal is created in the same way as an Opal triplet however instead of a single piece of opal being used a bunch of matching opal chips is used instead. It gives the piece a very unique and beautiful appearance.
This is the newest Opal that has become extremely popular in recent years. it is a volcanic form of Opal that has neon 3D colors. The low prices of Ethiopian Opal added with the beauty of Ethiopian Opal makes it one of the most desirable Opals available on the market today.
This country has honey coloured to green colored Opal known as Prase Opals and also some Dendretic Opals.
Recent discoveries include Pyrophane or Gilarsol Opal with unique inclusions.
Opal was first discovered in Kenya around 4000 BC. Today Opals are sold as Kenyan Opal which most likely come from the Ethiopian Opal fields.
Mexican Fire Opals and Contra Luz Opals can be clean stones or combined with soft brown potch and are volcanic Opals.
Most are white semi translucent crystal Opals and considered stable and have unique patterns.
Peruvian Opals from the Andes Mountains have been popular for their clean pink or Sea Blue colour and are called Andrea Opal or Paraiba Blue Opal.
These volcanic Opals are mostly milky white to matrix in colour. They are sometimes referred to as Honduran Black Opal matrix.
American Opals are spread all over the country in pockets from the Virgin Valley in Nevada to Utah. Oregon and Spencer Opal are not consider super stable and must be kept in jars of water to stop them from cracking.
This green coloured Opal is known as Opalite. The country did have volcanic dark colored Opals but today most are from the Ethiopian Opal fields and known as Kalimay Black Opals which is smoked Ethiopian Opal.
In ancient times Hungary supplied Europe with Opals. Slovakia was apart of the Hungarian Empire and the opal were referred to as Hungarian Opals. Today it is known as Slovakian Opals though.
Dendretic Opal can be found in several countries and is known as Moss Opal or Tree Agate.
This refers to Opal that was once timber or vegetation and was opalized over millions of years .It can be referred to as USA Opal or Boulder Opal.
This colourless Opal is found in Mexico and Australia and has a glass like appearance.
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