7 Things to Consider When Buying Opal Jewelry
Opals are precious minerals that can be easily distinguished from sapphires or rubies. The unique patterns and colors give them a special appearance.
Although they may not be as expensive as diamonds, getting your hand on gem-quality opal can be extremely difficult. This is why you need to be extra careful when buying jewelry.
Raw opal does not demonstrate crystallinity. They need to go through various processes before they acquire a gem-like appearance. And so, without proper knowledge about them, you could be handed a normal stone while paying the same as a gemstone.
This article will discuss the various things you need to know while buying jewelry infused with Opal.
Things To Know Before Buying Opal Jewelry
Buying jewelry can seem a bit tricky for people new to this particular type of mineraloid.
But it is not that different from buying any other jewelry that has some sort of gems etched into it. In this case, you can only do two things.
Buy Australian Opals Online from Trusted Stores
Various trustworthy online stores sell authentic jewelry etched with precious minerals. Click here and you will surely find some unique stones and other types of jewelry to your liking. Visiting these websites will reduce the amount of extra stress you need to take, such as figuring out the shape, color, and size of different types of jewelry.
You just need to place your order, and the stores will deliver exactly what you want right at your doorstep. There are a few ready-made ones, such as black or crystal opal. You can also place custom orders, but it is best to buy ready-made ones if this is your first purchase.
Important Features to Know About
If you are not buying from a trusted vendor, you need to do a lot of background research. Lucky for you, we have compiled all the things you need to know about opals in this article.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
1. The Type
There are various types of stones available in the market, and you need to know all the different types of opals before you go out to buy one. The most expensive ones out in the market are the black-toned ones.
These are shiny and have a dark background compared to others. The most common one is the White or Milky one. It is also the cheapest type. It does not have a glossy appearance like the black one.
Crystal types come in the widest variety of colors. The last type is the boulder type, which resembles the black type and can sometimes be mistaken as a black opal.
2. Base Body
The market association has a base body tone guide that shows the darkness or lightness of the opal, but not the actual color. The stones are classified into nine groups ranging from N1 to N9. So if you are buying jewelry from a store or online, you can measure the base body from this guide.
For example, if you see your stone anywhere between N1 to N4, that means it is black opal, one of the most expensive ones out there. Compare them from different sellers to see if they match with the type you are looking for from the guide.
You should always buy from sellers who guarantee that they will get you the right one and give you the chance to return it if it does not suit your taste. This guide is especially important when differentiating.
3. Body Tone
The value of an opal stone is determined by its tone. The darker the tone, the more valuable it is. This is why black ones tend to be more expensive than white ones.
This is because if the body has a darker tone, it will reflect more light and give a shinier appearance. On the other hand, lighter tones do not reflect light as much, so they have a matt appearance.
So, check the body tone before buying it.
4. Brightness of the Stones
There is a brightness grading scale. The grades are dull, subdued, bright, and brilliant. This scaling depicts how well the stones can reflect when light falls on the surface.
You can tell from the grading that opals on the brilliant grade have the brightest glow, while dull ones do not glow or have a faint glow. The brighter the piece, the more expensive they get. Luminous ones are quite rare, whereas dull and muted ones are widely available.
5. Carat Weight
Carat weight determines how large or how heavy the stone is. Since opals are not gemstones like diamonds or precious metals like gold, carats do not dictate how valuable it is.
So the cost of a 0.2-carat opal can be equal to or even more than a 0.3-carat one. The price is determined by other factors such as color tone and brightness.
6. Color Patterns
Each stone has a unique set of patterns in it and they always differ from one stone to another. They are different in shape, size, and color. You will notice this play of colors when you turn it over, and light reflects on the surface.
Some common patterns include Harlequin or Mosaic, Ribbon, Chinese Writing, Pictures, and Straw. Pieces that have a harlequin pattern tend to be more expensive than other types. Another thing to note is that if there are more red or red-like color pallets in the pattern, that will increase the stone’s overall value.
However, not all of them will have patterns throughout the surface. There will be places where there is no pattern known as dead spots. While buying them, make sure you buy the ones that have the least amount of dead spots in them because the number of dead spots can decrease the value of your jewelry.
7. Natural Flaws
There are a handful of flaws that can be present in your opal. These natural flaws will be present in only naturally formed minerals.
Fake or manufactured stones will not have these flaws. So in a sense, minerals or crystals with these flaws can generally be considered completely natural.
Some common flaws include a whitish or cream-like area on the surface of the jewelry, patch lines across the patterns present in your stone, small cracks or lines on the surface of it, etc. However, the last flaw can be removed after the stone is polished.
How To Spot Fake Opal Stones
There are many famous and well-established stores that provide their customers with genuine opal. But that is not the case with all the stores. Some sellers will take dishonest measures and sell fake ones to you.
However, if you are careful enough, you will be able to quickly identify these fake or manufactured duplicates. Here is a list of things you can follow if you have doubts about your stones.
1. Check The Pattern
The patterns in a natural stone will be random and will have no distinguishable shape. However, fake or artificial crystal pieces and gemstones have a repeating pattern. They can either be linear or oval square-shaped.
If you find out that the stone you are about to buy has similar patterns all across its surface, then there is a high probability that it is a fake one.
2. Lizard Skin Pattern
If you look at the patterns, you will notice that the fake ones have column-like patterns in them. When you look at the end of these columns, you will see small dot-like patterns. These patterns are similar to those seen on the skin of a lizard, such as a chameleon.
This is a clear indicator that the stone you are buying is fake. Natural pieces of jewelry will not have column-like patterns, nor will they have this lizard skin pattern.
How Much Do Opal Jewelry Cost
Body tone plays a great part in valuing jewelry. Darker color ones are more expensive than their lighter counterparts. Dark opal crystals can cost around $50 to $1,800 per carat. Light-toned ones range from $30 to $400 per carat.
There are several other factors, such as the weight, size, and cut of the stones. High-quality black opals are the most expensive ones currently available.
Opal stones are a unique set of gem that can make jewelry exceptional. But that is only possible if you are buying original stones of the right shape, color, tone, and brightness. Otherwise, it will be hard to differentiate between an original and a duplicate one.