‘Black Opal', the most rare of the Opal family and treasured since its discovery at Lightning Ridge ( NSW ) in 1903, has been a high profile gem with demand fuelled by its inherent beauty and international acceptance as one of the world’s finest and rarest gemstones. It enjoys immense popularity at a time when production is at a critical low.
‘Black Opal’ is primarily mined in and around the Lightning Ridge region of North-Western NSW. It is the rarest and therefore generally most valuable variety of Opal. Fine quality gem Black Opals are often more expensive than diamonds..
The term ‘Black Opal’ is somewhat misleading as the opal is not ‘black’ in colour, but has a dark to very dark base body tone, which enhances the brilliance of the colours.
Queensland Boulder Opal: Back to Top
Boulder Opal is mined in vast isolated regions of Central and South Western Queensland. It consists of Opal occuring naturally in dark ironstone (the host rock). The Opal generally occurs as thin, often wavy veins naturally adhering to the ironstone.
Some ironstone may be visible in the surface of the Boulder Opal when cut. However a Boulder Opal which has a full face of Opal with no ironstone intrusions is said to be ‘clean faced’ and generally commands a higher price.
Light Opal: Back to Top
By quantity Light Opal is the most common type of precious Opal found . It is mined primarily at numerous Opal bearing areas in South Australia ( such as Coober Pedy , Andamooka , Mintabie and Lambina ). Light Opal refers to both the Crystal type Opal ( translucent ) and the Milky type Opal ( opaque ).
As it is the most commonly found variety by sheer volume, it is generally less valuable, however gem quality Light Opal ( especially fine crystal type ) can exceed the value of many ‘Black’ and Boulder Opals..
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