How to Select an Opal Jewel

If you think that buying brown diamonds can be a challenge, you have not tried to pick out the perfect opal. Insiders throw around terms like “crystal” or “black” when the stone does not look like it. To equip you for a confident buying decision, we are answering your opal related questions.

What is a black opal?

The black opal is the Corvette of the gem’s class. It is rare, valuable and features some telltale displays that heighten the desirability of the stones. For example, the more red tints you see in a black opal, the more expensive it is. Another favorite is the blue and green combination of hues. Since the color play displays against a black backdrop, it is far more dramatic than any other type of opal you may see.
Case in point is this unique black opal ring with flashes showing green, blue, orange and yellow. Artisans placed the oval cabochon-cut stone, which weighs in at 6.50cts, in a platinum setting. Dating back to the 1920s, you notice the beginnings of the Art Deco design elements. Enjoy sparkle coming from six emerald-cut diamonds with a combined weight of .40cts.

Why is a boulder opal so much less expensive?

Well known for its darker colors, the boulder opal is a gem that formed along with ground stones. Because these stones make up part of the gem, its value is considerably less than that of its black counterpart. (Ask to see the stone’s certificate to ensure that you get more opal than stone backing.) That said, its darker colors hold great appeal for the right collector.
This boulder opal enhancer in a 14k yellow gold setting from our workshop is an excellent example. The stone is untreated and shows off flashes of orange, yellow and green alongside the brown backing. It measures 21.85mm by 14.25mm. It is gorgeous.

How do I choose a crystal opal?

Unlike black or boulder opals that denote specific types of the gem, a crystal version of the stone can be found in either camp. The term simply refers to a stone that has translucent qualities. Transparency has the potential to add value to an opal.
For example, this 1940s semi-black, crystal opal enhancer pendant combines multiple desirable traits. The pear-shaped stone’s luster appeals to the eye alongside the green, red and blue flashes. Artisans enhanced the look of the 14k yellow gold jewel with the addition of seven round diamonds that weigh a combined .21cts.
At Peter Suchy Jewelers we are experts in all types of vintage, estate and antique jewelry. We hope you’ll stop by our showroom located at 1137 High Ridge Road in Stamford Connecticut.
Or, hop on over to our top-rated BigCommerce Store where you’ll find all the vintage opal gemstone jewelry you see here. If you find a listing has ended, please email us at as we may still have the item in stock.
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and be sure to check out our amazing Pinterest Boards!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *