Flood Gem Flood Gem – Queensland Boulder Opal
  • Buying Opals

    A Short Guide to Buying Opals

    WARNING; when purchasing an opal there are a few things to keep in mind:

    • If the price is “too good to be true” it generally is!  Quality opal is rare and expensive to find and this is reflected by the price.
    • Buy from a reputable dealer who guarantees their products.
    • Ask whether the opal is Solid Opal, (Boulder Opal, Black Opal, White or Crystal Opal), opal doublet, opal triplet, synthetic opal or imitation.
    • If buying an unset opal make sure that it does not have any major flaws (major cracks) that may cause the opal to break when setting. A lot of opal has minor inclusions or imperfections that do not detract from the soundness of the opal; they are however somewhat cheaper than a perfect opal. If you don’t mind a little spot here or there it may be a good way to acquire a lovely coloured opal at a lower price.
    • Ask about the origin of the opal (where it is from).  Australian sedimentary opal  commercially produced in Australian is of a sedimentary origin and seems to be far more stable and durable than from other opals deposits around the world.
    • Be aware of volcanic opal; Some opals from volcanic origin around the world may discolour or crack over time and are of less value than opal from well known locations. Although extremely beautiful at times this volcanic opal is not as suitable for jewellery making and is extremely heat sensitive.
    • Synthic opals (so called) are mostly produced these days from microscopic polymer sphears fused together and are a fantastic immitation of the real thing. However these polymer opals are formed from plastics and are very easily scratched and lose there shine.
    • “Gilson” synthetic opal has the same chemical composition as natural opal and is expensive to produce, this is not so cheap and nasty as the polymer opal imitations. It is generally identified by its classic “Lizard Skin” effect in the colour pattern.