Opals are found naturally in various regions of Australia. The high price of precious opal is determined mainly by its elusiveness. Opals are generally split into the following categories:
Black opals are extremely rare and as such are priced very highly - often worth 10 to 50 times that of light opal. Solid black opal is found in dark bars. Deep blue and green hues are commonly seen in black opals along with many other possible colours depending on its blackness. Black opal is mined in the Australian regions of Lightning Ridge, Mintabie and Andamooka.
Also found in Australia, Boulder opals are rare and of very high value. Their appearance is very distinctive as they contain a layer of brown ironstone on one side. Boulder opals are named as such due to their formation in the cavities of ironstone boulders in Queensland. Over millions of years the veins of liquid opal harden to form this beautiful stone. Due to the huge variety in boulder shapes, sizes and horizontal and vertical cracks, the formed opals can display mystical and unique patterns.
Usually mined in South Australia (Andamooka, Coober Pedy and Mintabie being the most common sources), the light opal is translucent and often milky white or light blue in colour. Tilted in the light, its jelly-like appearance reveals an array of deep and beautiful colours within. Semi-black light opals are slightly darker in colour with more grey tones but equally as popular for its gorgeous appearance. We use light opals in all of our opal jewellery at QP Jewellers.
Opal doublets are partially man made alternatives to solid opals. A slice of opal is adhered together with a glass backing, which gives the same appearance as a solid opal. This reduces the overall cost of the opal while maintaining its visual properties. Opal doublets vary in thickness but tend to be thinner than solid opals.
Doublets must be cared for and prevented from prolonged exposure to water. If water gets in between the opal and the backing, condensation may occur or the layers may even separate.
Opal triplets - similarly to opal doublets - are partially man made. A slice of opal is attached to a glass backing, then a dome shaped clear quartz capping is attached to the front of the stone to give it a much larger and fuller appearance. This allows the effect of a larger opal to be achieved at a much lower cost.
As with doublets, opal triplets must be cared for and prevented from prolonged exposure to water. If water gets in between the opal and the capping or backing, condensation may occur or the layers may even separate.
QP Jewellers do not use opal doublets or triplets. All of the beautiful opals used in our jewellery are solid.