How to Buy Black Opals Online

There are so many Opals being sold online as ‘Australian Opal’ or even ‘Australian Black Opal’ the problem is that many of these products are either created Opal (A very sophisticated resin based plastic) or treated, dyed and smoked Ethiopian Opal (which is Hydrophane and prone to cracking or losing its artificially enhanced colour)

So how do you know what is a real Australian Black Opal and what do you look for?

How Are Opals Classified?

If you are going to buy an Australian Black Opal you are making an investment that could really appreciate in value! (as they are extremely rare) Australian Black Opals are distinctive as they have a grey to black ‘base tone’ that causes the ‘body’ of the Opal to be darker than the white (or light) Opal and more opaque than the Crystal Opal (which is translucent).

Australia produces 98% of the worlds Black Opal supply but it can be confusing. Ethiopia produces Black Opals by taking crystal Opal and then heat treating it and changing the body tone through the artificial process of smoking and dying. This appears black and has incredible colour, but the treatment process is artificial. If you accidentally put an Ethiopian Opal in household cleaning chemicals the process can be reversed and the colour dissolves leaving behind a dull grey stone with no value.

When you buy Opal Jewellery online many Opals that are described as ‘Australian Black Opal’ may appear grey or light. This is because the body tone can vary from jet black (N1) to a mid tone Grey (N6 – 14)

Opal Body Tone Chart

Natural Australian Black Opal is incredibly rare and in a piece of Opal jewellery is very unique. It is a gem that is rapidly growing in popularity as programs such as ‘Opal Hunters’ have increased the exposure to Black Opal and increased understanding of the rarity and difficulty in finding these gemstones.

A Black Opal with a ‘named pattern’ is arguably 5,000 times rarer than a diamond, and potentially the worlds most valuable commercially available gemstone.

What Should I look for when Buying Black Opal Jewellery?

The most important element when buying an Australian Black Opal Ring, Pendant or Earrings or buying any Opal jewellery online is the colour. Look for bright ‘fire’ in the Opal. This is colour that will flash and scintillate even out of direct showroom lights.

Make sure you get a certificate that names the Type of Opal, the field of origin and declares plainly: ‘Natural Opal Type 1 free of artificial dyes and treatments’

And finally make sure you LOVE it. Every Opal is different, even if an Opal has some sand spots or inclusions make sure you make the choice that suits you! Opals are unique and fascinating and will give you great joy for years, so enjoy YOUR choice!