Knowing what to look for in an opal is important when it comes to understanding how to buy opals.
For example, what is a doublet? Or what is a triplet? What are the different types of opals available and how can I get value for money when I am buying an opal?
The first thing to do is read as much as you can about opals. There is a wealth of information on this website to help you do that.
It is a good idea to know before you go. What type of opal are you looking for? How much do you want to spend?
In opals, doublets & triplets are made up of a very thin slice of opal, cemented onto a black backing. This will cause the opal to be dark & bright in colour with the idea being to simulate a more highly valuable black opal. (If money is an issue this is helpful as it is much cheaper than the genuine article. However one should keep in mind that they can deteriorate over time and even be destroyed if continually immersed in water, such as an opal ring worn constantly. Genuine solid opals are a much better investment even if they are more expensive.
Black opals, boulder opals, & white opals are the main different types of opals available today. They are all found in various areas of Australia and each has a very difference appearance. And so is good for a specific purpose or with a certain type of cloths.
Black opals are considered the ‘Rolls Royce’ of opals, and are priced accordingly. If you can buy a black opal you are fortunate as they are considered to be the best available.
Boulder opals are not quite so valuable, a sort of lesser cousin, but they still have stunning color and beauty. Do not buy boulder opals at a per carat price. You will be paying a lot for heavy ironstone on the back of the opal. This is simply a way of getting a higher price for a less valuable stone. Boulder opals are the most hard wearing due to the ironstone backing the opal and giving it strength.
White opals, on the other hand, have a ‘milky’ white body tone, and, although more common, nevertheless are quite beautiful.
A crystal opal is any type of opal with a translucent or transparent quality. This can add some value to a stone when combined with good color such as rose gold for example.
It is a good idea to select an opal that looks best on you as an individual. Skin tone, color and size can make a difference. A slim finger for a ring will demand a different type of opal to a more plump finger. No two opals are alike and are just about as individual as people so it pays to spend some time browsing the many thousands of opals available to find the one that just suits you and your personality.
When you look at an opal with a view to buying it check the brilliance, and color. It should be dry and have no cracks or faults.
It should come with its own Certificates of Authenticity so make sure you ask for one. It is good for insurance purposes and possible later re sale but importantly it makes the jeweler or opal dealer accountable for his or her sale.
When it comes to how to buy opals these above are some of the points well worth keeping in mind!