In 1993, Opal was named Australia’s national gemstone. In 2008, the Black Opal was named the ‘gemstone emblem’ for New South Wales. Of all the opals mined in Australia, Black Opals are the most valuable. Because of its increasing rarity, the price of this gemstone has risen substantially in recent years.
Black Opals have long been the most prized and most famous out of all the opal family. Most people wear it as a lucky charm, emotional stability, an occasional accessory, or as stunning jewellery to symbolise one’s character and power. Regardless of use, learning about the magnificence of Black Opals, their history, and their uses lets a casual wearer or an enthusiast understand its value with more confidence.
Black Opals for Your Jewellery: The Perfect Choice to Stand Out
Opals are one of the most distinctive gemstones on the planet. It sparkles and glistens in every colour of the rainbow, with varying patterns that create a unique appeal. Because Opal has the attributes of every colour gemstone embedded inside, it was revered to offer great luck to its wearer during the Middle Ages.
Of course, whether you trust the legend or not, we’re confident that every time you wear your new Opal gem from Opals Down Under, you’ll feel its elegance and beauty. As Opal hues range across the spectrum, wearing one today remains the perfect choice for you to exhibit your uniqueness from the rest of the crowd.
The Sparkling Beauty of Black Opals
The black body tone of this Opal variety allows the colours contained inside to show more brilliantly than any of its colours or types in its family. Hence, Black Opals take pride and are regarded as the most precious of the Opals.
Gem Black Opals have nearly every hue of the rainbow set against a jet black to the dark greyish background. Six main elements define the value of a gem Black Opal, much like any other Opal: the rarity of the colour, structural pattern, brightness, directionality, clarity and weight are all taken into consideration when obtaining a dollar value for each gem.
Black Opals: Beauty in darkness
Many clients prefer the dark background hue of Black Opal considering all other gemstone quality aspects are identical. This is largely due to its play-of-colour that perfectly contrasts well with a dark background. Thus, Black Opals are appealing because of the contrast in play-of-colour to body tone.
The dark body, ranging from dark grey to charcoal black, appears as the most distinguishing feature of Black Opal. However, its body tone appears only as a generic property that has no bearing on the gem’s spectral or rainbow colours.
Many people mistakenly believe that Black Opal is fully black. This is not the case.
Traces of iron oxide and carbon are responsible for the Opal’s black body tone. The dark tone is advantageous since it draws attention to the Opal’s rainbow colours. Black Opals are particularly amazing, due to the contrast of the body tone against the fire colour, which drives up their demand.
Black Opals and Unique Origins
Lightning Ridge, a municipality in New South Wales, remains the primary source of Australian Black Opal. Huge amounts of Black Opals from New South Wales have been mined in this town throughout the years. The location is about nine to 10 hours from the Gold Coast.
In 1873, Black Opal was discovered in Lightning Ridge for the first time. However, it was not until 1903 that the value of this gemstone was fully understood.
Black opals from Lightning Ridge revolutionised the market value and price of opals and established a new standard for the gem. Later on, the stone may also be found near Mintabie, South Australia. (As of 2019, commercial mining operations in Mintabie have been halted).
Black Opal of high gem-grade may cost more than $25,000 per carat in the retail market, making it one of the costliest gemstones on the planet. A large part of this costing is due to the fact that extracting and prospecting Black Opal is a very difficult and expensive task. A group of miners might not even uncover a single Opal gemstone after investing huge amounts of time and money over long periods of time digging for the elusive gem.
Ethiopia, Brazil, and Mexico are just a few of the countries where Opal may be found. Nonetheless, Australia is recognised for producing approximately 90% of the world’s opal.
How Miners Search for Black Opals?
For nearly a century, miners have been searching for Opal in many other areas of the planet in the hope of striking it rich. Even for Opal mining specialists, finding Black Opal is proven very difficult and in many cases a disappointing and futile exercise.
After completing a series of exploratory drill holes a miner makes his/her final decision on where they believe is the best opportunity to find opal.
Miners begin by digging a vertical shaft for access approximately one metre in diameter down to what they have decided is the sandstone opal bearing level, anywhere between four metres and twenty metres. Then they excavate ( Bell out ) a large enough subterranean room ( ballroom ) to begin excavating at the sandstone Opal level. Miners look for regions in the stone that may contain traces of Opal in the hopes of finding additional gem Opals deeper within the level.
Over millions of years, silica-rich groundwater hardens in rock to create Opal. In precious Opal the large silica granules diffract white light, resulting in brilliant colour spectrum hues. Each gem is distinct due to the unique colour play.
When it comes to finding Opal, the human aspect is the most important factor. The rough Opal must be cut and polished once it has been retrieved and processed from the earth. This commences the search for the gem’s true worth.
Black Opal Cutting
Gem cutters typically leave a layer of black potch below the precious colour bar, this layer of black potch is what helps accentuate the gem’s body tone and adds to its vitality. The stone’s body tone is greatly determined by the colour of the natural potch that is left on the stone during the cutting process. This colour can range from jet black to pale grey.
Unique Characteristics of Black Opals
If you love sparkle, you’re going to love Black Opals as it adds a little glisten into your life every time you wear it. Here are some of its unique characteristics that you should know before buying and wearing one.
The market dictates that most Black Opals be cut into oval shapes to suit most high-end traditional jewellery designs. However, here at Opals Down Under, Scott Coggan (Director and Opal Artisan) takes the liberty of cutting many of our precious Black Opals into their natural freeform shapes. Thus creating the opportunity to design unique, one-off jewellery pieces.
Because the opal colour bar in black opals is frequently considerably narrower than in white or crystal opals, they are usually cut with a low cabochon.
On the Moh’s scale of hardness, black opal, like white and crystal opal, has a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5. On the other hand, diamonds have a hardness of 10. So, it is easy to say that a black opal appears as a delicate stone with durability akin to glass.
Black Opals are rated between an N1 body tone through an N4.
The dark body tone of black opal, which varies from jet black (N1) through to a pale grey (N4), gives it its moniker. Because the stone is black, the colour stands out a lot more than if it were white.
On the back of the stone, black opal frequently has a natural patch backing (colourless opal), which contributes to the stone’s dark body tone. Triplets and doublets are manufactured to look like black opals and consist of a thin slice of natural crystal opal attached to a black backdrop.
Some people believe that Opal varieties work as an emotional stone for most charm experts. Because it is formed of silica and water, it’s easy to associate it with our feelings. It intensifies your feelings and wants by acting as a mirror.
Particularly, black opal helps you to understand your deepest wants, love, and intense sentiments, as an emotional stabiliser. It promotes loyalty and commitment. Also, it has traditionally been associated with concerns of the heart, including love, passion and desires.
Pattern & Colour
All the dazzling colours of the rainbow may be seen in black opal. Some of the patterns that Opal can present are floral (most common), ribbon, harlequin (rarest), flagstone, straw, rolling flash, pinfire and so on. Red is the rarest colour, whilst purple and blue are the most common.
Black opal has an expensive price tag attached to it because of its rarity and prestige. Market dynamics dictate that highly sought-after unusual things command greater costs than more common items.
Other elements that influence its price are the pattern’s distinctiveness, brightness, cabochon form, and colour. Due to its rarity, red is the most valuable colour in Black Opal. However, the blues and greens can be very beautiful yet still affordable as this colour is not as rare.
Black opal is becoming increasingly scarce, due to the cost of mining and government legislation on small miners. Unlike the abundance of white diamonds found throughout the world, black opals are now considered one of the world’s rarest gemstones.
In comparison to Boulder & White Opals, Black opals command a significantly greater price due to their rarity and status. Some say that black opals are extremely pricey, while others contend that their value is relative to market factors (supply and demand).
Opals Down Under: The Finest Selection of Black Opal Jewellery
Browse our large variety of high-quality black opals to pick the one that appeals to you. Perhaps it will have the hues that are most meaningful to you. Perhaps it will have a form and light that you can’t look away from. Perhaps it will remind you of a glistening sea or a fiery sunset from your travel adventures.
When you’ve discovered the right stone, you’ll need to decide on the best setting for it. Rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants are available in a variety of styles, from basic and discreet to rich and exquisite.
Our master Opal cutter, Scott Coggan, has skillfully sourced and cut all of our opals fully utilising his three decades of industry experience. Yes, we can custom cut something to meet your needs! Whatever aesthetic you’re going for, whether it’s an everyday black opal necklace or a magnificent black opal ring for life’s big moments, our staff here at Opals Down Under can produce a one-of-a-kind masterpiece of black opal jewellery that you’ll cherish for generations.
At Opals Down Under, we offer comprehensive service, as well as updates on the status of your jewellery shipment and the unique narrative behind each piece. We’ll ship your personalised black opal jewellery in gorgeous packaging that’s appropriate for such a lovely piece. If an issue arises, we will be pleased to assist you in any way we can, as we are happy to send our black opal stones anywhere in Australia and the world for a little fee.
Customise a One-of-a-Kind Black Opal Jewellery Piece
Opals Down Under provide one of the best websites in Australia. Looking for the perfect setting to suit your perfect opal? Our expert award-winning jewellers specialise in crafting quality opal settings. All you need is a little bit of imagination and the right expertise to make the magic happen.
Because each opal has its distinct personality, we feel our clients must have the chance to select the ideal natural opal for them. We take delight in providing you with high-quality jewellery that you will cherish for a lifetime.
Build a jewellery design that you can wear every day or that you can pass down to your daughter on her bridal day. Make your dreams a reality. Anything is possible with an Australian Opal by Opals Down Under.