What is a Black Crystal Opal?

What is a black Crystal Opal A Black Crystal Opal is a unique and beautiful variation of a Black Opal. Black Crystal Opal is scarce and so unique. The base of the Opal is black, but it is translucent. A Black Crystal Opal must have a body tone of a Black Opal which is between N1 to N4.

Most Crystal Opals have a body tone of N5 to N7, as very few crystals can be termed ‘black crystal’. Do not be confused about Body Tone, it is not the brightness ranking or an indication of the bottom or base of the Opal. It refers to the overall Lightness or Darkness of the Opal.

Visual Differences of a Black Crystal Opal

Black Opals have black potch on the base, but Black Crystal Opal does not have potch on its base. They are also transparent to translucent when viewed with light coming through the Opal. Transparent Black Crystal Opals are clear and mostly clean without any potch or inclusions.

What is a Black Crystal Opal

Translucent Black Crystal Opals only allow some light to pass through and can have inclusions inside or a deep darker color. Opaque Opals that do not allow light to pass through are Black Opals not Black Crystal Opals.

By holding a Black Crystal Opal to the light, you will notice that it is not opaque like Black Opal or White Opal and is transparent but with deep dark body tone.

How was Black Crystal Opal formed?

Black Crystal Opals can form in seam Opal or Knobby Opals. Seam Opals are Opals formed on horizontal or vertical beds and are generally grey. Some small pockets maybe contain darker potch that may lie beside the Black Crystal Opal.

Black Crystal Opal can also form in knobby material, this is generally darker body tone color and forms in rock styled with color bars.


Australia - Natural Black Crystal Opal is mined in Lightning Ridge, Australia and only few pieces are found in south Australian Opal fields of Cooper Pedy and Mintabie.

Generally Lightning Ridge Black Crystal Opals are brighter than any other. Our cCystal Opal categories have Lightning Ridge Opals separate from other Opal fields for this reason.


Black Crystal Opal Is Not the Following

Ethiopian Crystal Opal if smoked or dyed and treated has been called Black Crystal but this terminology is not correct. This type of Opal should be classified as Enhanced Opal. This Opal treatment may not last and the body tone is dark brown base and not body tone N1 to N4. Beware of anyone selling Smoked Ethiopian Opal as Black Opals.

Jewelry Settings

If a Crystal Opal that has been set into a ring or pendant has the back covered by either plastic or gluing potch to the back, then it is not a Black Crystal Opal. The correct terminology is enhanced Opal.

When buying a Black Crystal Opal ring it is best to turn the ring over and see if the back has been closed and covered in by metal. If it’s covered in it is safe to assume it is just a Crystal Opal enhanced with a backing. Enhanced Opal is mostly used in Opal inlay jewelry where the setting is painted black and the Opal is glued into the jewelry piece. Black Crystal Opals are ideal ring stones and make ideal engagement rings when set in white gold with Diamonds. They can be very bright and have the added individuality of being transparent.


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