What is the value of opals? Opal is a naturally occurring gemstone that is made from silica. It is non-crystalline, that is, it does not contain crystals. These gemstones have a beautiful display of colors that is very visible and shines when light reflects on them.
The value of opals is not easily figured out because there are many attributes of the gemstone that need to be considered. And also, the location of the opals plays a vital role in understanding the value of an opal.
Its unique and rich display of colors, coupled with the fact that it is also a rare gem, makes opals have high value and become pricey. Opals are mined in different countries of the world, including Ethiopia, the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Madagascar, etc.
However, Australia still stands on top as the most popular country where opals are mined. And, of course, they are the most expensive. Each country has its opals that are unique in their features, and this factor usually helps to determine the price and value of these gemstones.
This article post is focused on allowing you to fully understand the value of opals and how these different types of opal values are determined. Let’s get started.
What is the Value of Opals Per Carat?
Once opals are mined, they are cut and categorized as either opal doublet stones, opalized fossils, or rough opals. When this is done, the miners prepare the cut gemstones to be made into a variety of jewelry for the market.
Opals are always sold at a price per carat, and this can cost about $10 per carat up to $6,000 per carat depending on the type and category of the mined opals. After an opal is taken to be valued, a price per carat is given to enable jewelry buyers to get the full price of the particular opal ready to be sold.
The overall carat size or weight of the gemstone is used to determine the price of the opal.
What Determines the Value of Opals?
Not everyone can easily measure the value of an opal. However, some variables can be used to carefully determine the value of opals.
They are the opal class or type, body tone, brilliance, pattern, color bar thickness, a play of color, and faults or inclusions. The size, location, and cut of the opals also contribute to the measurement of the opal values.
Let’s discuss these value variables one after the other.
1. Type of Opal
This is regarded as the first variable to understand when trying to check the value of an opal. Opals can either be solid or be assembled into doubles and triples, which have just a very small piece of the opal placed underneath the assembly.
A solid opal would generally be worth much more in value than a doublet or triplet opal.
2. Body Tone
This refers to the background color of the opal, which can either be dark or light in tone. Opals with dark body tones are much more valuable than those with light body tones.
This is attributed to the fact that the darker body-tone opals can showcase more colors brightly than the lighter ones. It is common knowledge, however, that black opals are the most valued and pricey opals in the world.
3. Color Contrast
The play of color is achieved when the opal is faced with light and it displays its array of colors to produce a brilliant spectrum.
For this play of colors, the fire opal is much more valuable than the green opal due to its silica spheres, which allow it to display more colors when diffraction occurs.
4. Opal Brightness
This variable of the opal value determination refers to the brilliance and brightness of the colors displayed by the opal. The brightness fluctuates, especially when it is faced with white light, while creating a brilliant to dull appearance interchangeably.
The pattern of the colored parts of the opal that forms the play of color is distinct to each opal type, as no two gemstones are the same. The color pattern displayed is also used to determine the value and uniqueness of the opal.
6. Color Bar
The thickness of the opal color bar in opals is also used to determine the value of the gemstone. Those with thin color bars are rated more valuable, like the Boulder opal.
However, once the gemstone has been cut into jewelry, the color bar does not hold much importance in determining the value of the opals.
Just as it is with any other type of jewelry or gemstone, once there is a visible fault, the value of that particular piece decreases instantly. An opal with an open crack has its value reduced.
A drop in the value of the opal can also occur when there are inclusions such as sand and other minerals, and color inconsistency.
Types of Opals and their Value
Many believe that opals are formed by rainwater, although this has not been proved as no one knows how they are formed. Opals are also considered by some people as lucky gemstones with supernatural gifts.
In this post, we have compiled some of the common types of opals and their respective values.
1. Black Opals
Just as the name already suggests, black or dark opals are gemstones that have an overly dark body tone or color. Dark blue or green opals are also referred to as black opals, and they are very popular in Australia.
Black opals have a darker base but also may feature different color hues on their sides.
2. Boulder Opal
The boulder opal is rated as the second-most valuable opal in the world after the black opal. Boulder opals are easily confused with black opals because of their dark body tone.
These gemstones contain ironstones, which enables them to exhibit their characteristic dark shade. Boulder opals can only be found in Queensland, Australia.
3. Australia Fire-Opal
The fire opal has an array of bright colors like orange, red, and yellow. They are majorly mined in Australia, hence the name “Australian fire opal”, but they can also be mined in other regions like Queretaro, Mexico, Honduras, and the USA.
Fire opals come in fiery colors, but they are also transparent and have high iron content.
4. White Opal
These white gemstones are available in clear or light body tones. They are also sometimes referred to as milky opals.
White opals can show different types of colors when light reflects on them as they have a transparent back. White opals have a light body tone and are considered the least valuable of the opal types.
They can cost about AUD 200 a carat and they are quite a common variety of opal.
5. Koroit Opal
Koroit opals are very large and much more valuable than any other kinds of opals that are easily accessible and available on the market.
Can You Buy Opals for Yourself?
Yes, I can buy opals for myself. Although opals are extremely beautiful gemstones, they are also rare and pricey.
However, you can get affordable opals that may not entirely have the solid components of a natural opal but would still be considered one. These affordable opals also have their worth when valued in the market, although it is not like the pricey and rare ones.
Can Opals Be Found in the US?
Yes, opals can be found in the US. There are many states in the US where opals can be mined, especially in the western states where there are volcanic rocks.
What is the current value of opals in the US can be determined by checking out the states and locations from which they are mined.
Nevada is the major supplier of opals in the United States as you can get varieties of opals like black opal, fire opal, and other common opals. Other regions in the US where opals can be found include Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
Opals are breathtaking gemstones that are available in different colors, sizes, and shapes. They are also mined from different locations in the world, which adds up to their value.
We hope this article and all that has been discussed above have been able to answer the question; What is the value of opals and also whetted your appetite to convince you to own a piece of these world-class gemstones.