Australian Opal is a unique gemstone with vibrant colors and a captivating play of light. It is highly prized for its exceptional quality and beauty. It comes in a range of colors, including reds, blues, and greens, and each Australian Opal is unique.
To buy the right Australian Opal, it’s important to know its qualities and value factors like color play, clarity, cut, and carat weight. We’ll provide practical tips to help you make a memorable purchase within your budget.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about Australian Opal before buying one.
What is Australian Opal?
Australian Opals are unique opals found only in Australia. They are highly valued for their beauty and rarity. Australian Opal is special because they are connected to the ancient dream time, which is the Aboriginal belief system.
These opals form over millions of years when silica-rich water fills cracks and cavities in rocks, eventually forming solid opals. This process can happen in different types of rocks, including sedimentary and volcanic rocks, and even fossilized dinosaur bones. Australian Opal has mesmerizing colors that are highly sought after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts.
Now that we have explored the distinguishing features of Australian Opal, let’s delve into the rich history of these captivating gemstones.
History of Australian Opal
Australian opals have a rich history that dates back thousands of years, holding cultural and spiritual significance for the Aboriginal people as symbols of creation and connection to the land.
Opal mining in Australia, particularly in South Australia and New South Wales, has been a fascinating and economically active field for centuries. European settlers in the 19th century discovered opals in Australia while searching for gold, which led to the growth of a thriving opal mining industry.
Australian opals have a rich history of fortune and hardship, being found in the outback where miners braved harsh conditions to uncover these beautiful gemstones.
In the 20th century, the industry experienced a boom, attracting miners from all over the world. Today, Australia is the leading producer of opals worldwide.
The government now regulates opal mining fields to ensure the protection of the environment.
Source and Formation
Opals form when silica-rich solutions enter cracks in rocks, creating tiny spheres that reflect light and produce opalescence. This process takes millions of years and needs specific conditions.
Here are five key factors that contribute to the formation of opals:
- Sedimentary rock: Opals are mainly found in sedimentary rocks, which are formed from the accumulation of sediment over time. These rocks provide the framework for opal formation, as they contain cracks and voids where the silica-rich solutions can penetrate.
- Silica spheres: The silica-rich solutions that seep into the cracks and voids of sedimentary rocks contain microscopic spheres of silica. These spheres are arranged in a regular pattern and diffract light, giving opals their amazing colors.
- Silica-rich waters: The silica-rich solutions needed for opal formation are derived from silica-rich waters. These waters contain dissolved silica that is carried through underground channels and eventually deposited in sedimentary rocks.
- Ironstone patterns: In some cases, the silica-rich solutions may also contain iron oxide, which can result in unique ironstone patterns within the opal. These patterns add to the beauty and value of the opal.
- Active opal mining fields: Opals are mainly found in specific regions known as opal mining fields. These fields are usually located in arid or semi-arid areas where the conditions for opal formation are favorable. Some of the most famous opal mining fields in Australia include Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy, and Andamooka.
Australian Opal possesses a range of mesmerizing physical properties that contribute to their unique beauty and allure.
- Hardness: Australian Opals have a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, which makes them relatively soft compared to other gemstones.
- Toughness: They have a fair to poor toughness, meaning they can be prone to cracking or chipping if not handled with care.
- Luster: The luster of Australian Opals varies from vitreous (glass-like) to resinous (having a waxy appearance), enhancing their visual appeal.
- Specific Gravity: The specific gravity of Australian Opals ranges from 1.98 to 2.20, which is relatively low compared to other gemstones.
- Water Content: Australian Opals contain a significant amount of water, usually ranging from 3% to 20%, which contributes to their play-of-color phenomenon.
- Inclusions: These opals often contain veinlets of color running through the stone, known as play-of-color, caused by the interference and diffraction of light.
- Fracture: Australian Opals exhibit a conchoidal fracture, meaning they break with smooth, curved surfaces, resembling the shape of a clamshell.
- Cleavage: They do not have a cleavage plane, meaning they do not split along specific planes like some gemstones.
- Carat Weight: Australian Opals can vary in size and weight, with carat weights ranging from a few tenths of a carat to several carats.
- Color: The colors of Australian Opals can range from vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows to calming blues, greens, and purples, creating a stunning visual display.
- Shape: Australian Opals can be found in various shapes, including oval, round, pear, and freeform, allowing for unique jewelry designs.
These specific data on the characteristics of Australian Opal provide a deeper understanding of their physical properties, making them even more fascinating and sought after in the world of gemstones.
Types of Australian Opal
Opals, like a kaleidoscope of nature’s artistry, display a myriad of captivating colors and patterns that vary among the different types found in Australia.
- Boulder opal: characterized by ironstone concretions forming a natural base, with vibrant color flashes and striking contrast.
- Black opal: known for exceptional quality and rarity, with a dark body tone that enhances color play, often exhibiting vivid flashes of red, orange, blue, and green.
- White opal: features a light body tone and delicate color play.
- Crystal opal: prized for transparency and vibrant hues.
- Matrix opal: forms within ironstone or sandstone, creating a unique pattern and texture.
Knowing about the various types of Australian opal helps buyers appreciate their unique qualities and make informed purchases.
Symbolism and Meanings
Australian Opal symbolizes dreams, wishes, and hopes, and they help manifest aspirations.
These opals also hold significance in matters of love, representing the profound connection and affection shared between two individuals. For centuries, they have been used as wedding rings, symbolizing the perfect union between partners.
Additionally, Australian Opals are said to possess the power of foresight, enabling individuals to predict and prepare for future events. They are also renowned for their ability to ward off negative energy and protect against bad luck, often worn as jewelry or placed on altars and tables in homes.
Furthermore, these opals are associated with courage, strength, and determination, empowering wearers to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals in life. When gifting an Australian Opal to someone, it signifies their unwavering support and presence in their life.
Australian opals are highly valued for their metaphysical properties. These gemstones have a special ability to promote spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical healing. They connect individuals to higher realms, enhancing spiritual growth and development, and aiding in the connection with intuition and inner wisdom.
Emotionally, Australian opals are said to have a calming and soothing effect. They are believed to help release negative emotions and promote emotional balance and harmony. These gemstones are also thought to enhance self-confidence and self-esteem, allowing individuals to express their true selves without fear or hesitation.
Mentally, Australian opals are said to stimulate creativity and enhance mental clarity. They are believed to help individuals think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas and solutions.
In terms of physical healing, Australian opals are thought to have a gentle and nurturing energy that can help alleviate physical ailments. They are believed to promote overall well-being and vitality and are often used in crystal healing to support the body’s natural healing process.
Australian opals symbolize the Third Eye Chakra, linked to clairvoyance, intuition, and psychic abilities.
They are also connected to the Solar Plexus chakra, helping with inner strength and stomach-related healing.
Additionally, opals have a subtle connection to the Heart Chakra, promoting love, compassion, and emotional balance.
Australian Opal Birthstone
Australian Opal is not designated as a birthstone, but its parent stone, the Opal, holds the title of October’s birthstone. Consequently, the Australian Opal stone exhibits heightened effectiveness during this particular month.
Charging Australian Opal
Chakra stones need to be cleansed to remove negativity and absorb positive energy. Regular use and exposure can accumulate negative energy, so it’s important to clean them. This restores the stones and helps them function at their best. Read our guide for more on cleaning your chakra stones.
When selecting crystals to pair with Australian opal, it is important to consider their meanings and properties to create a harmonious blend.
To create an enchanting combination, consider pairing Australian opal with the following crystals:
- Amethyst: Known for its calming energy, amethyst can enhance the opal’s soothing properties and promote spiritual growth.
- Moonstone: With its ethereal glow, moonstone complements the opal’s iridescent play of colors, creating a mystical and dreamy aesthetic.
- Rose Quartz: As the stone of love and harmony, rose quartz can infuse the opal with gentle and compassionate energy, making it an ideal choice for romantic pieces.
- Labradorite: Labradorite’s iridescent sheen and flashes of color beautifully complement the opal’s play of colors. This combination can create a mesmerizing and dynamic piece of jewelry.
By combining Australian opal with these complementary crystals, jewelry pieces can exhibit a captivating blend of colors, energies, and meanings.
Cost and Value
When considering what other crystals can be paired with Australian Opal, it is important to understand the cost and value of these unique gemstones.
The price of opals, however, can fluctuate significantly due to various factors including the type and quality of the opal, as well as market demand. To gain a comprehensive understanding of purchasing opals, please refer to our informative guide on how to buy and value Opals.
To keep your opal jewelry beautiful and valuable, avoid harsh chemicals and high temperatures. Clean it with mild soapy water and a soft brush or cloth, rinse with clean water, and dry with a soft cloth to maintain its value and longevity. Read our complete and step-by-step guide on how to care for your opals.
Are Australian Opal considered rare and valuable?
Australian opals are considered rare and valuable due to their unique play of colors and limited supply. Their scarcity and increasing demand contribute to their high market value, making them a sought-after gemstone in the global market.
Australian Opals are highly valued gemstones due to their rich history, unique formation, and mesmerizing colors. They are a popular choice for jewelry enthusiasts and collectors because of their distinctive physical properties.
To charge Australian Opal, pair them with quartz or moonstone to enhance their energies.
The value and cost of Australian Opal can vary greatly, making them precious and sought-after.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Australian Opal only found in Australia?
Australian opals are only found in Australia, making the country a significant source of these gemstones. However, small amounts of non-Australian opals are found in other parts of the world, such as Mexico, Brazil, and Ethiopia.
Do Australian Opals come in different colors?
Yes, Australian opals come in a wide array of colors. They can exhibit a mesmerizing play of colors such as red, blue, green, and yellow. This diverse range of colors adds to the allure and uniqueness of Australian opals.
Can Australian Opal be used for healing purposes?
Australian opals are believed by some to have healing properties, although there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. It is important to approach opal usage for healing purposes with caution and consult a healthcare professional for proper guidance.
How should I care for my Australian Opal jewelry?
In order to properly care for Australian opal jewelry, it is crucial to handle it with delicacy, refrain from exposing it to harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures, and store it in a soft cloth or a padded box. Cleaning should be carried out using mild soap and a soft brush. For more information, please refer to our caring instructions.
Chermaine’s journey into the world of gemstones and crystals began as a child, collecting shimmering stones on family vacations. Today, she’s a certified gemologist and spiritual healer, intertwining the physical beauty of jewels with their metaphysical properties.
Chermaine has traveled to mines in Africa, marketplaces in India, and spiritual retreats in Bali, always seeking to deepen her understanding.
Jump To a Section Below
- What is Australian Opal?
- History of Australian Opal
- Source and Formation
- Physical Properties
- Types of Australian Opal
- Symbolism and Meanings
- Healing Properties
- Chakra Connection
- Australian Opal Birthstone
- Charging Australian Opal
- Crystals Pairing
- Cost and Value
- Are Australian Opal considered rare and valuable?
- Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions