Opals can very well be called the national gemstone of Australia. It’s been said that as much as 95% of the worlds opals come from Australia, the majority of which are mined in South Australia. Coming in all shapes, sizes and even colours Australian opals make beautiful pieces of jewellery that can be treasured for years.
Before adding unique, custom designed opal jewellery to your wardrobe here is some information to help you find the best stone, and piece for you.
There are four main types of Australian opals.
Solid opals are the most expensive of all the opals. The stone is cut and polished in it’s natural form, without altering it in any way.
It can be difficult to know whether an opal is a solid without asking. The price can vary hugely depending on the size, clarity of the colour, the colour itself as well as the vibrancy or brightness of the stone.
These opals are very thin and because of that are often called “gel”, meaning that opal itself is slightly transparent. Doublet opals are flattened on the backside of the stone and a dark stone is glued to the back. Altering the stone in this way, enhances the brightness and colours.
Doublets are a great option as this process results in beautiful coloured stones at a very reasonable price compared to solid opals.
One way to tell whether an opal is a doublet is to turn the stone on its side. The line between the opal (transparent) and the added dark stone on the back will be very straight and easy to see.
Triplet opals are generally used for cheaper jewellery that can be found in souvenir shops. They are less bright than doublet opals and have clear glass, quartz or resin glued on top of the stone to magnify the colour.
These stones can be very bright, however the colours are slightly distorted. The way to tell a triplet opal apart is by turning the stone on its side. You will be able to clearly see the clear lens glued on top of the opal itself.
Boulder opals are unique in that they include pieces of the rock that it was cut from. (This rock is usually posh or ironstone). You can see rock and opal mixed together. Boulder opals are a great choice for unique jewellery that you won’t see worn often. The combination of opal and rock is guaranteed to give a one of a kind piece
Although jewellery that includes opals has traditionally been seen as old fashioned and conservative at Ixtlan Melbourne, my passion is to create contemporary pieces enhancing the natural beauty of opals with modern and elegant design.