Is it by color, clarity, etc.? What do I look for before making a purchase?
Opals are quite complicated – there are many types and then various qualities within those types. Basically, just like all color gemstones, the color is important — in the case of opal, it’s the color patches. They don’t have inclusions – in the sense of color gems or diamonds — they have dull areas called potch. This takes away from the quality of the “play of color”. They can also have cracks – called crazing.
When you hear about black opals, they’re not really black; however, the background to the play of color is a dark gray. A white opal has a white background. Both need a strong play of color — and the colors are important. Red is most rare — green and blue are more commonly found. Their distribution could be pinpoints of color or broad patches.
For more information about this phenomenal gem, consult our jewelry experts. They can explain about the various types — including doublets and triplets — and show you how they look and tell you how they are evaluated.