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View our range of opals and jewellery.
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Watch The Opal Story

Watch an informative video about Australian Opal.
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Buy The Opal Story

Buy The Opal Story book and DVD.
Colours and Patterns
Black Opal
Colours and Patterns
Black Opal
Colours and Patterns
Black Opal
Colours and Patterns
Black Opal
Colours and Patterns
Light / White Opal
Colours and Patterns
Opal Jewellery
Colours and Patterns
Black Opal

Colours & Patterns

An Opal's beauty is unique and made from the amazing play of spectral colours unique to this gemstone. This originates from the breaking up of white light due to the three dimensional spherical shaped microstructure of the silica particles inherent in the opal (these can only be detected with an electron microscope).

Similar phenomena of colour hues can be observed when oil lies on water or the play of light giving rise to a rainbow.

The value of an opal is determined by the type of opal, the predominant colours it exhibits, the clarity or brilliance of these colours and the patterns in which the colours are arrayed. Good patterns of the diffracted colours have an enormous impact on the value of the opal. Pinfire and small type patterns are more common, and thus less expensive than broad patterns or large flashes. Distinct patterns such as rolling flash, straw pattern, Chinese writing, ribbon, and especially harlequin,are very rare and considered collectors' items.