Fire Opal – a confusing terminology

Fire Opal.

It is a term that is quite commonly used and heard in our store. Not by the staff, mind you.
The meaning of Fire Opal is often confusing, with each customer having different perspectives. Is it only referring to red tones? Isn’t it to do with brightness? Australian Opal is Fire Opal, right?

So let’s clear a few things up –

Firstly, real Fire Opal actually refers to the Mexican variety of Opal. Quite different to Australian Opal, and generally not as stable. Mexican Fire Opal is, as its name suggests, orange to red to pink in tones. Here at ODU, we actually do not deal in Mexican Opal, choosing only to work with our Australian material instead.

Secondly, the other terminology for ‘Fire Opal’ (which is an American term, we believe) is regarding the brilliant play of colour in the opal. It’s the same as referring to Brilliance (one of the factors that determine the opal’s value per carat). Generally, something with a lot of ‘fire’ will be the more high grade material.

Also, when the term ‘fire’ is used in regards to opal, it is not narrowed down to the red/orange tones. A fiery opal can show off brilliant greens, blues, yellows and more.

We hope this helps.