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Australian Opals: The Finest in the World

Australian opals are considered to be the finest and most sought-after opals worldwide. Australia produces 95 percent of the world's opals for the jewelry industry. The continent dominates the opal market because so many opals are mined across Australia. The factors that determine how valuable an Australian opal is include the absence of treatment, brightness, clarity, country of origin, color, pattern, and the play of color.

Characteristics of Australian Opals

Australian opals can't be categorized into one type of gemstone because of the many variations of the stone. Although smaller deposits of opals are found in other countries, Australian opals are superior. Australia's opal fields are located in New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia.

  • Black opal fields are in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales.
  • Boulder opals are mined in Queensland.
  • Milky or white opals are mined in South Australia.

Types and Regions of Australian Opals

Type of Opal Location Characteristics
Black Opals New South Wales (Lightning Ridge) Most valuable opals.
Boulder Opals Queensland Unique to Queensland.
Milky/White Opals South Australia Mined in South Australia.
Crystal Opals Various Transparent to semi-transparent background.
Water Opals Various Similar to crystal opals but may feature a very faint play of color.
Opal Pineapples White Cliffs, New South Wales Rare fossils.

Play of Color Patterns

  • Pinpoint: Small patches of color.
  • Mosaic or Harlequin: Broader patches of color.
  • Flame: Reddish streaks of color.
  • Peacock: Primarily green and blue color.

Australian opals are so valuable because they're of such high quality. Millions of years ago, Australia was submerged in geothermal water. The water deep within the earth is what gives the Australian gemstones their chemical and physical properties.

Benefits of Australian Opals

People who want an astrological substitute for a diamond often wear Australian opals. Australian opals promote imagination and creativity and are the perfect gemstone for artistic pursuits and new ideas.

Astrological Benefits

  • White Australian Opal: Beneficial for creative people. Associated with the planet Venus and creating wealth. Believed to improve lifestyle and finances.

Health Benefits

Australian opals are said to improve health and have the power to cure many disorders.

  • Liver Disorders: Beneficial effects claimed.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Believed to help.
  • Psychological Issues: Claimed to be beneficial.
  • Reproductive Problems: Improvement reported when women wear white opals.

According to Vedic astrology, Venus is the planet associated with love and relationships. White opals are considered to assist in improving relationships.

What Makes Australian Opals Special?

Opals are one of the world's most ancient gemstones. In Rome, opals were referred to as opalus, which means precious stone. Opal artifacts dating back to 4000 B.C. have been discovered.

Unique Features of Precious Opals

Precious opals feature vibrant colors that give them the name of fire opals. A multi-dimensional display of bright colors is unique to the most precious opals. The two colors of precious opals are the background color and the display of color.

  • Background Color: Due to impurities in the silica.
  • Play of Color: Term to describe the brilliant display of colors within the gemstone.

Color Variations

Opals may be blue, green, orange, purple, red, yellow, or black. The Australian black opal is the rarest of all opals, though the gemstones may feature a variety of dark colors.

Value and Rarity

Australian stones may be more expensive than diamonds. It's difficult to put a price on an Australian black opal since each stone has unique properties. However, the price of an Australian black opal may be as high as $10,000 per carat. Since these opals are so unique, there are usually several bidders for the gemstone.


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