Ignite Your Passion for Opals

Individual opals can vary widely in appearance and quality. As diverse as snowflakes or fingerprints, each gem can differ noticeably.
There are three main aspects of an opal’s quality:
  • Color—Background color and play-of-color
  • Pattern—Arrangement of play-of-color
  • Clarity—Transparency and quantity of inclusions
Opal evaluation should be done under controlled lighting on a dark background. Rotating the opal against a background helps when you’re determining its type and evaluating its play-of-color and cut.
The Five Steps of Evaluating an Opal
  1. Determine the type of opal: [Is it a black opal, white opal, crystal opal, etc.?]
  2. Determine the ratio and quality of its play-of-color: [Consider the percentage of play-of-color compared to background color, its intensity, dominant hues, range of color and pattern.]
  3. Determine the opal’s transparency: [Is it transparent, semi-transparent, translucent, semi-translucent or opaque?]
  4. Determine the opal’s clarity: [Look for the presence of matrix, crazing, pits, etc.]
  5. Evaluate the opal’s cut: [Consider the opal’s symmetry, thickness, polish, sizing and calibration.]

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