A gemstone that is valued for each aspect, like transparency and opaque as well, opal is not difficult to be evaluated for quality and price. Consider the following guidelines for identifying the best quality opal:
Opal has two types of colours, a band of colours known as play of colour and background colour or body colour. Play of colour can be single, dual, or a rainbow of colours. A bright, intense, and clear tone of colour all over the stone is priced more than a faint and dull play of colour. Background colour is important as it enhances the beauty of play of colour. Dark colours set a beautiful background for the bright play of colour.
Black is the most favoured background colour, and red and orange are the rare and highly-priced play of colour of opal.
Pattern is the distribution of play of colour over the stone. Dead spots are areas with the absence of play of colours. More the dead spots, less is the value of a stone. Dense play of colour at all angles without dead spots is a feature of good quality stone.
An equal and symmetrical distributed pattern and play of colour could be a sign of fake stone.
Blemishes, fracture, matrix, and crazing affect the quality of opal. Blemishes and fracture in the stone lower its value.
Matrix, the inclusion of host rock in opal, usually degrades admiration for the stone.
Crazing is the result of loss of moisture in the stone that affects durability and not preferred for jewellery; though people may buy for its low pricing.
Transparency is also checked while testing the clarity of opal. Opals, both opaque and transparent are valued. For example, crystal opals are priced more with a higher scale of transparency. A cloudy background degrades the beauty of play of colour reducing the quality of the stone.
Cut and carat also affect the pricing of stone. The best quality opal might not have regular cut or size, but exhibits play of colour at best. Cabochon and oval are the usual cut in which opals are available. The best quality opals have a smooth and equal dome and are perfectly round shaped.
If you are thinking to buy opal jewellery, reserve a session with us for further details on the selection of best quality stone, bespoke opal jewellery, and its durability and maintenance.