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  Opal Types - and attributes

Black Opal

Boulder Opal

  • The rarest (and some say the most beautiful) of the Opals
  • Strong brilliant colours on black or dark background
  • Found mainly in Lightning Ridge in NSW, Australia.
  • Priced by brilliance, colour and pattern
  • Black or dark based Opal ablaze with a multitude of colours.
  • Red on black potch* being the most valuable, closely followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
  • Hydrated, hardened Silica gel containing up to 5-10% water
  • First deposits found by boundary riders 1902 in Lightning Ridge, NSW
  • Found only in Western Queensland
  • Forms on ironstone boulders
  • The main varieties are Matrix and Vein, with many varieties in between such as pancake, Yowah nut and splits
  • Valued by brilliance of colour and the amount of actual precious opal present on the ironstone
  • Cut mainly as free shapes and to the contours of the opal vein
  • Like black opal the most valued colour is red followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet

White Opal

Crystal Opal

  • Most common and well known of the opals
  • Milky appearance with play of colour
  • Found mainly in Coober Pedy, Mintabie, Andamooka in South Australia, and White Cliffs in NSW.
  • Priced by predominant spectral colour
  • Cut into free shapes but also calibrated due to the quantities available
  • Hydrated Silica
  • 5.5 - 6.5 mohs hardness (Diamonds are 10)
  • Transparent opal with strong play of colour
  • Found on all the opal fields in Australia
  • Often has different layers of colours below the surface of the stone
  • Hardened Silica gel containing 5 - 10% water
  • Cut into free shapes but also calibrated



*Potch is the plain coloured "common" opal that the flashes of brilliant colours are found in. It is most commonly a dull grey colour not unlike the background of this text.

RD Opal Centre in Coffs Harbour, NSW.
   Opal Miners and Wholesalers.

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