6.75ct Black Opal – £72,000

This opal is very lively, showing off very bright, and very rich fiery colours that show all of the time. The deep and strong, bright cherry red, blends to perfection with a mix of green, orange and blues. The peacock blue lays slightly deeper, just underneath the red, a gorgeous shade that contrasts and lifts the show that little extra, making a truly gem quality opal. All colours move with vivid splendor, very, very bright. From every single angle, the show is at its best, the colours are always on show. A constant display of colours that are ever present. The opal has a medium dome and is fantastic in all lights.

Origin Lightning Ridge
Category Black Opal
Play-of -colour Red multicolour
Pattern Mixed
Body tone N2
Brilliance Scale 4.5 to 5.0
Clarity Opaque
Cut Medium dome
Shape Oval
Weight (carat) 6.75
Size 16.2 x 13.1 x 5.2 mm
Polish High Quality

£72,000

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Opal Buying Guide

Opal Buying Guide – Seven steps in choosing an opal

Opal Type –

Solid Opal –

Made of a single solid piece of opal, this is the most valuable type of opal. Depending on the rarity of colours and patters Solid Opals can cost as much as a top grade diamond on a per Carat basis.

Boulder Opals –

Thin veins of opal form within the cracks of Ironstone, when these veins are exposed they remain attached to their ironstone backing. Stunning boulder opals are mostly irregular shapes and make fantastic pendants. Boulder Opal is not as expensive as solid opal, but is more expensive than the man made doublet and triplet opals.

Doublet Opal –

A thin slice of opal is backed with a dark piece of stone or plastic – When the stone is set so that the back and sides aren’t visible, it can be very difficult to distinguish a Doublet Opal from a solid opal.

Triplet Opals –

A paper thin slice of opal is mounted onto a black background stone or plastic, and a dome of crystal, glass or plastic is mounted on the front of the opal to both protect the stone, and magnify the colours. Triplet opals are generally cheaper than doublet opals because they contain less actual opal stone.

Opal Body Tone -

Darker Opals are generally rarer and display more vibrant colours, therefore as a general rule, the darker the opal the more valuable it is. Opals come in shades of darkness from Black opal through Dark Opal and White Opal.
Crystal Opals are translucent and may have plays of colour from faint to vibrant. Depending on the intensity of colour crystal opals can range in value.

Play of Colour –

The play of colour in an opal affects the opals value. Naturally Red is the rarest colour found within an opal, the value of colour then decreases through orange opal, yellow opal, green opal and finally blue opal.
Some combinations of colour also occur less often, such as a play of Red and Blue together.

Pattern –

The Play of Colour within an opal takes on certain patterns. This patterning is 100% unique to each opal. Some patterns are rarer than others, and some are more striking than others. The more valuable patterns include Harlequin Opal, Flagstone Opal, Ribbon Opal, Straw Opal, Chinese Writing Opal and Picture Stones Opal. Some other beautiful patterns include Floral Opal, Rolling Flash Opal, Broad Flash Opal and Pinfire Opal.

Size –

With solid opals, the Carat weight of the opal plays a big part in its valuation. Oval and round opals can be selected based on measurements in mm.

Shape –

Opals come in many shapes, both regular and irregular. Oval Opals, Round Opals, Tear Drop Opals and Freeform or irregularly shaped opals.

Brilliance –

The brilliance or brightness of colour within an opal makes a big difference to the opals value. Brilliant, or gem stone quality opals, are far more valuable than bright opals. Opals also come in Subdued and Dull colours.

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What are Fake Opals?

Fake opals are produced by synthesizing the silica beads that form natural opal. Fake opals are easy to spot by their regular play-of-colour due to identically sized silica beads.

An experienced eye should be able to distinguish a fake opal from a natural solid opal with ease. A trick of the trade is to hold the natural and fake opals up against the light. A natural opal should go entirely translucent, however a fake opal will not. In the case of a boulder opal or doublet opal, a high powered camera flash can be used to take an image of the stone. Should the stone be real, the flash will turn the opal translucent and illuminate the stone or plastic backing.

Fake opals hold very little value and we DO NOT deal in any fake opals.

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What Are Boulder Opals?

Boulder Opals are natural formations of thin opal on ironstone. The opal appears naturally in thin seams between the ironstone rock, and is cut in such a way as to retain the ironstone backing.

Boulder Opal is very strong because of the naturally melded ironstone, and the dark backing gives the opals the same benefit as a dark backing on a doublet opal, however the value of boulder opals is higher since this occurs naturally.

Queensland Boulder Opal is know to display fantastic colours similar to black opals. They can be cut into oval pieces, but are more often cut into irregular shapes that make for fantastic pendants.

You should be weary of buying boulder opals on a per carat basis as the ironstone is heavy and has very little value, however boulder opals are far more valuable than doublet opals and triplet opals..

Lapidists (gem cutters) need to be especially careful when working with boulder opals as the ironstone is much harder than the opal, and as such, the opal wears away more quickly during the polishing process.

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What Are Triplet Opals?

A Triplet Opal is similar to a doublet opal in that it is a man made stack of different materials, including some real opal. In the case of a Triplet Opal, the slice of opal is generally paper thin.

This paper thin slice of opal is mounted on a dark background of stone or plastic in the same way that adoublet opals are, however a Triplet Opal then has a dome of clear crystal, glass or plastic over the top of the opal which has the effect of magnifying the colours.

Triplet Opals can make stunning pieces of jewelery, however they are easy to spot to an experienced person.

A Triplet Opal may have very bright colours, however the Play-Of-Colour will generally be poor. One benefit of Triplet Opals is that the clear dome will protect the opal from direct abrasion.

Triplet Opals are the least expensive form of opal since they contain only a very small amount of real opal. They can only be valued on the top down dimensions of a stone, rather than the carat weight, since plastic has no gemstone value. They are best mounted in silver or stainless steel jewellery.

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What Are Doublet Opals?

Doublet Opals are a man made gem which uses a thin slice of real solid opal, and attaches it to a black stone or plastic backing to enhance the stones colour. If the stone is mounted so that the back and sides aren’t visible, it can be difficult to differentiate a doublet opal from a solid opal.

Doublet Opals can’t be valued by carat weight as the black stone or plastic is valueless. However based on the brightness, play of colour, pattern and size, we can come to a valuation.

Doublet opals are best matched with a silver or 9kt gold mounting. They are a great option for less expensive jewellery as the stones aren’t as expensive as solid opals.

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