When it comes to one of the most stunning and beautiful jewellery pieces you can own, nothing makes more of a statement than opal rings. If this is your first time learningabout this type of jewellery, you may be surprised to know that each opal has its own distinct qualities and features, making opal rings a unique and special choice. Read on for a quick guide to buying opal rings.
What is Opal?
Unlike a mineral which is a crystalline form of silica, an opal is classified as a mineraloid because of its amorphous character. It’s the national gemstone of Australia and comes in two broad classes: common and precious. When you see opal designs, these precious gems offer a fascinating play of colour that creates a pseudo-chromatic optical effect, with flashes of coloured lights created when rotated in white light.
There are a number of factors that you need to consider when looking at opal rings, such as:
The Four Types of Opal
Depending on the look you want for your opal ring, you can choose from four different types of opal:
This is the most famous and highly sought after type of opal, although some people often mistake it because of its name. These stones are not completely black, but instead have a dark body tone that allows for an amazing brightness of colour that other types of opals can’t match.
White or Milky Opal
Originating from South Australia, white opal is a high-quality stone that’s common in opal rings dueto its body tone. However, the colours don’t show as well when compared to black opal. Still, white opal can still offer a beautiful display of colours, including blue, red, yellow, green, grey and yellowish brown. Light opal, which can range from colourless to medium grey, should not be confused with white opal, which has a distinct milky body colour.
This type of precious opal is unique, as the host rock serves as the back of the gem. Depending on how you look at the stone from the surface, boulder opal can be light or black in colour, which means they’re often mistaken for black opal. This type of opal gained widespread popularity in the mid-1970s and is still in high demand for opal rings.
Crystal opals have a translucent or semi-translucent appearance. Some designers add a dark backing to highlight the natural colours in the opal. Most have a light or dark body tone which is classified as either “white crystal opal” or “black crystal opal”. When you look at a crystal opal, you should be able to see through the stone with vibrant, subtle colour.
Shapes and Patterns
Opal rings come in a protective setting such as halo or bezel, and the opal can be cut into different shapes. Popular shapes for rings include:
Some opals are also characterised by their beautiful natural patterns, which can include:
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