What is an Opal?
Opal is a form of silica which has seeped into cavities in the ground over millions of years in high water table areas. Over the years the water table lowered leaving cavities for opals to be formed. Opalised fossils are also found including wood, coral and shells.
The Romans valued opal above all other gems, believing it to combine the beauty and colour of all gems. As William Shakespeare quoted – “the mother of all gems”. These were mined in Hungary and later Aztec, South American mines. Of the worlds opal, Australia produces 95% providing the brightest and rarest of all gems found.
Is an Opal a good investment?
Beautiful opal is very rare and very desirable. As with Argyle Pink Diamonds and Colombian Emeralds, high quality solid opal, with limited supply, will always appreciate strongly.
Buying an Opal!
When buying an opal consider which opal is your favourite. Maybe you would like the depth of Black, the swirling play of Boulder or the soft colours of White or Crystal Opal. Choose carefully as Opal is a very unique gem and does not conform to any boundaries as with other gems. Each gem has its own character and set beautifully will provide you with a lifetime of reward as no one will ever have the same, unlike other graded gems. A fine, bright solid opal will always increase in value, a doublet or triplet will decrease in value very quickly. Always be sure you can view the back of the opal when set, for peace of mind and for future appraisal.
Found in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales is the rarest and most valuable opal naturally formed on black potch. This is created from the black mud associated with the artesian basin, as the area has a very high water table and often cannot be mined in winter. The dark background giving great depth to each gem in any colour.
Found in outback South Australia, being the largest fields in Australia producing over 40% of the Worlds Opal. Previously being an inland sea creating white potch naturally backing very bright coloured gems. Crystal Opal, transparent with no potch, is also found here with a lot of fossil shells.