Though Australia isn’t the only place in the world where you can find opal, it might as well be. Nearly 97% of the world’s opal hails from Australia. Australian opal gemstones come in a variety of tones and colors, with white and green being the most common. Australian opal gemstones can form on just about any sort of rock. The key is the low temperature needed to form them. Here is more information about the history and makeup of the stone as well as information on how to buy Australian opal gemstones.
The Color and Complexity of the Opal
90% of all opal is light, white, or crystal opal. All terms for the same pale whitish green gem that is the birthstone for the month of October. What you probably didn’t know is that opal comes in such varied colors as magenta, blue, black, and even orange. In fact, 8% of mined opal is the rare black variety of opal.
Opal has a high content of water which lends to its often translucent appearance. Though the typical water content of this sort of gemstone stands at less than 10%, however some stones have been discovered to have as much as 20% water content.
Opal is actually one of the most colorful stones, with a capacity to produce every color in the known spectrum. This is both through actual shade and through color fractions that are visible when certain lighting hits the stones.
As with most gemstones faux opal has started to appear on the market. In fact different types of fake opal have been around for a while. You can even find synthetic versions of the stone in antique jewelry. This type was created by fake glass. The newer types are created through slightly more complicated chemical set ups. Creating an opal in a laboratory does not create a true version of the stone and they should not be marketed as such, though this is often the case.
How to Buy Australian Opal Gemstones
These stones are very popular as birthstone jewelry. It is important to verify that you are purchasing true, naturally occurring opal and not a look alike. Finer retailers offer provide a wide range of high quality, authentic pieces in a variety of jewelry types. The gemstones by themselves, uncut and unplaced are often purchased from dealers and conventions all over the world. Even when dealing with a gemstone dealer it is important to get some sort of proof of authenticity prior to purchase.
Since the stones are primarily found in Australia there is a pretty good chance that you are getting an Australia gemstone. Only 3% originate from other countries. However there are mines that produced these stones in place like Nevada, Idaho, Wales, and believe it or not – Mars! So other than verifying the authenticity of the gem you also want to verify its country of origin if you are only in the market for the Australian breed. Any reputable dealer will be able to provide you with all of this information at your request, no problem.