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Everything You Need To Know About The 20 Types Of Opal (With Photos)

If you love precious stones, then you must have come across types of opals at some point. These stones are lovely to the eye and yet have so much mystery surrounding them. Even though many people currently use them as jewelry, there are still rumors about the magic they possess.

The reason for this is the myths that surround it and how people in the past perceived them. There was a time when opals were used to ward off evil and even cure eye diseases. The beliefs made the stone seen even more mysterious and attracted a large group of buyers.

Suppose you have never worn opals. You will be surprised at the variety that is in the market. You are bound to be spoilt for choice when it comes to getting an opal that will suit you and your current mood. If you are having issues, you are not alone. Having a list of the stone will help you figure out which ones work for you and which ones do not. Here are the type of opals in the market.

Types Of Opal

Black opals

black opal is one of the 20 types of opal

One of the most valued types of opals in the market is the black opal. With black opal, you get stones of a dark color, often black or dark grey. There are also instances where the opal is dark blue or has a dark green body color. These colors in such an opal make a play of color more obvious. You can get this gem from Lighting Ridge, a small town in aralia. According to the books, the first black opal was seen in Lighting Ridge in 1893. Mining of the same began in 1903 since that is when people realized that it had great value.

Even though black opals are generally darker, a couple of them have brighter hues, which adds to their appeal. It looks great on most jewelry which is why most people love it.

Fire opal

fire mexican opal ring

When you look at the fire types of opal, you can easily mistake it with the precious opal because of the hues they give off. However, if you examine them closely, you realize that there is a vast difference between them that you can easily distinguish. Fire types of opals have bright yellow, orange, and red hues to them.  

You can also find it in parts like Mexico and America, although primarily mined in Australia. The difference between Australian fire opal and Mexican fire opal is that Mexican fire opals are more translucent and red in hue. The main reason why the gem appears so fiery is because of the vast amount of iron found in its construct.

Dark opal

dark opal ring

While this types of opal has dark hues, it is not dark enough to be called black opal. It is a semi-dark opal that can be described as being darker than the white opal. Since it is also mined at Lightning Ridge, you can compare some of its features of the black opal since it looks almost similar at first glance.

White opals

white opal

These light and paler white opals are also known as milky opals. They can also portray a variety of colors which makes them a great play of color opals. Even though they come in a transparent hue, sometimes they can contain a range of beautiful colors put together. Their paleness sometimes makes them subtle when you compare them to the other opals. They are not as expensive as the other brands in the market because they can easily be found.

Boulder opal

boulder opal gemstone

The boulder opal is the second valuable opal in the world after the black opal. It has a dark body tone, and many people mistake it for the dark opal and the black opal. The distinctive feature is brown firestone at the back, which is left by the iron deposits. During its formation, the ironstone creases and make the final stone look like it has creases. This darker side makes the hues of the stone appear more vibrant than before.

Matrix opal

matrix opal

The matric opal has a dark backdrop, and when it is left untreated, it ends up as colorful ironstone with streaks of coal. Many times this stone is treated. The treatment consists of a sugar solution and acid. The stone is soaked in the key first then boiled in the acid. The treatment gives the tone a dark color like the black opal.

Yowah nuts

yowah nuts

The Yowah nuts are a scarce find since they are not mined in many mines in Australia. They come in either ellipsoidal or spherical shapes and portray various blue, green, red, and purple colors. The opals come in two different colors, which make them unique to look at and to use.

Koroit opal

koroit opal

If you want an opal with an intricate design, you should go for the Koroit opal. It has a variety of gorgeous patterns and hues that make it stand out from the rest. Even though it is common opal, it is more valuable than the other readily available opals. It is commonly used in rings, pendants, and earrings.

African opals

african opal

 There are also some opals mined in parts of Africa, and they also hold special features. Here are the common ones.

Tanzanian opals

tanzanian opal

Tanzanian opals have a greenish hue to them and share a resemblance with jade opals. They sometimes also have a golden color which resembles honey hence Th name Tanzanian honey opals. Many people believe that green opals bring in wealth and success. Wearing them would make your business succeed and help you get a better vision. It is also believed that wearing green opals can bring you success.

Ethiopian opals

ethiopian opal

While Australia leads in being the global opal seller, Ethiopia comes in at a close second. Ethiopia has been mining opal for over 100 years and has gained recognition in the worldwide market over the recent past. Ethiopia has most of the nopal that Australia has, and many people prefer these opals because they are cheaper than the Australian opals.

South American opals

south american opal

 South America has also produced some opal that has made them known globally. Here are some of those opals,

 Mexican opals

mexican opal

One of the distinct features of these opals is their fiery color. They are mostly red, and that makes them stand out even more. You can also get it in an almost orange hue that captures your eye almost immediately. Since these opals have a high water content, it is recommended that they be preserved against high heat and any intense light, be it natural or artificial. Working with them needs someone how is keen and very gentle.

Brazilian opal

brazilian opal

One of the things you will notice about the Brazilian opal is that it has very feminine colors. It has crystal-like patterns, which makes it appear very subtle. Unlike the other South American opals, it has a low moisture content, so most people do not think of them as opals. One of the main reasons why this opal is unique is, it is found in low quantities. Very few people have had a chance to work with it, and that makes it a rare opal.

Peruvian opal

peruvian opal

One of the fun facts about Peruvian opal is, it’s the national stone of Peru. It is a rare stone and is only found in the Andes Mountains.

What makes it stand out from the other opals is, it does not have color play or fire. The Peruvian opal can be found in two primary forms, the Peruvian blue opal and the pink Peruvian opal. The blue Peruvian comes in a cool blue shade and is very sensitive to heat.

 If you expose it to sunlight, it will easily break after losing its intensity. On the other hand, the pink Peruvian has a bright pink shade and is not as sensitive as the blue one. It can sometimes be found in Australia as well, although it is a rare stone.

Honduran opal

Honduran opal

The Honduran opal goes by many names. It is known as the Honduran black opal because of the features it possesses. It comes in a variety and sometimes looks milky white to a black base. It is formed by volcanic activity, which might be one of the reasons why it is such an attractive stone. One of the things you realize with Honduran opals is, they are one of a kind. They are more of a mixture of opal and sandstone, which makes the entire stone look different.

Indonesian opals

Indonesian opals

 Indonesia’s once featured volcanic opal, but that was a while back. The opals had a black body and would flash of colors like red, yellow, and green. Even though there are sites that claim to seal Indonesian opals, most of them are not real. 

Knowing what site has legit products will ensure that you get opals that maintain their looks for longer. Currently, the opals sold in Indonesia are mined in Ethiopia then shipped to Indonesia. They are primarily green in color and should try on if you love the symbolism that green opals offer.

United States Opals

united states opals

The United States also boasts of a types of opals. The most common types of opals in the United States have to be the yellow fire opals mined in Nevada. Nevada also mines some of the best black opals after Australia, so they are a must-see looking for quality.

 Other types of opals in the market

While the opals above are arranged from their country of origin, they are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more opals in the world that learning about them will open up your mind to a lot. Here are the other opals that you will find in the market:

  • Dendritic opal. This opal is believed to bring you luck if you wear it. It has a milky white look and a green hue-like moss or a fern.
  • It opalized wood opal. With this opal, you get undertones of wood and vegetation since it descended from forestry in the past. It is common in the USA, especially in areas that have large forestation.
  • Hyalite opal. If you love transparent opal, then this one is for you. It is mainly found in Australia and Mexico.

Choosing the best types of opal for you

 With all the options above, you are most likely conflicted over which opal you should choose and which one should work for you. You are not alone. Before you go to an online or physical store to get your opal, ensure you figure out which one will work for you. Look for images online of the opal you are interested in and see how it goes with your jewelry. It is recommended that you choose a stone that will go well with your skin.

 The other thing you need to look at when choosing your opal is the effect you want from the stone. With opals, different stones have different healing properties. Find out what these properties are and see if they speak to you as a person. The energy from the opal will either work for you or against you.

Picking the suitable types of opal is not as complex as most people make it seem. With a bit of research into the stone, you are on your way to having a suitable pendant, necklace, or ring. You need to ensure you do when buying opals to get it from the right seller. With the right seller, you will get quality opals.

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