One of the most gorgeous gemstones in the world is the opal. This precious stone is mainly found in locations throughout Australia. Opal is included in the only six precious stones that are found on earth. The others are pearls, rubies, emeralds, diamonds and sapphires. Opals are so appealing due to their various colors and patterns. There are many different qualities and types of opals. Beautiful opals are used in creating and designing jewelry. There are selections of rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants and more.
Various Types of Opal
There are various types of opal. Natural opal is one type. This type of opal has not received any kind of treatment by man. It has only been cut and polished. Most natural opals are often described as matrix, dark, black and boulder. Boulder opal has a backing of ironstone. It is a solid opal due to its natural backing. Natural opal has two characteristics of transparency and body tone. Black opal is another type of the precious stone. This type is the most valuable of all opals. It is a stone of high quality and rather rare in existence. Black opals are easily distinguished. These have a background of blackness or body tone/color. Most of the black opals are discovered in Lightning Ridge, NSW. Light/White opal is an additional type. These natural opals are often known as “white”. The body color of this type of opal is usually a milky color. The bulk of most precious opals are the light opal. This type of opal is found in Southern Australia.
Another variety of the opal is the boulder opal. This precious stone is complete with part of the host rock forming into part of the gemstone. Generally, there is only a thin sliver of opal present. This usually occurs in few locations in Western Queensland. Boulder opals are concentrated in the crack fillings or some voids of ironstone boulders. This type of opal may be black; however, these could be light as well. Since the middle of the 1970s, boulder opals have gained popularity. These are very valuable. Many of the boulder opals are also present in quartzite rock and known as painted ladies.
Matrix opal is another type of opal. This type of opal is diffused. It usually occurs in holes or pores of a host rock. It can be found mostly throughout Queensland. It is distinguishable due to its rock host. From Andamooka, South Australia, the Andamooka matrix opal is a porous gem. It can be treated to give more color to the stone by treating with chemicals.
Other types of opal include the composite natural opal or doublets and triplets. These are a mixture of artificial veneers and natural opals. Triplet opals consist of a light opal veneer that is thin which has been bonded to a backing of black. There is a crystal dome affixed to the top for protection. Double opals have light opal layer that has been bonded to a black backing. This simulates a black opal. Most doublet opals are more costly than triplet ones. This is due to the greater amount of opal that has been used in making the doublet opal.