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Black Opal

Because of its rarity and fascinating beauty, Black Opal is considered the King of Gems - and not only in the realm of opals. Studies have shown that a Black Opal of average quality and size is at least 1000 times rarer than the average one-carat diamond.

Black Opals were first unearthed in 1901 in Lightning Ridge, Australia. The gem received its name due to the underlying layer of natural jet-black to dark-grey opal material with no play-of-colour (potch), over which a layer of precious opal with play-of-colour has formed. The rich, deep-black body colour provides an excellent contrast, and emphasizes the brilliant layer of opal with play-of-colour and brings out the brilliance and colour deep in the dark interior of the stone in an incomparable way. 

The clarity of Black Opal can range from clear (dark Crystal Opal) to transparent, translucent, or opaque. Often, the layer with play-of-colour, even in very precious stones, is relatively thin.
Black Opals with a deep-black body colour are among the rarest and most valuable opals. In fine qualities, these colourful gemstones show the entire colour spectrum in firework-like patterns of blue, green, orange, and sometimes red. Top-quality Black Opals are very rare and can reach extraordinarily high prices. Black Opals with bright red colour flash are especially rare and are valued accordingly high.

Sometimes special patterns can be seen in Black Opals. These colour patterns have names such as “Rolling Flash,” “Harlequin,” or “Pinfire,” and increase the value of the stones even more.

Black Opal Jewellery

Here you can see a small selection of jewellery with Black Opals.
You can find more examples in the opal jewellery section and in our online shop.

Mining and processing

Australia is not only the country with the largest opal deposits, but also the country with the most variety of different opals. In New South Wales, in the region of Lightning Ridge, and in the nearby fields Coocoran, Grawin, and Glengarry, the main mining areas of the incomparable Black Opal are found.

Very rarely, Black Opals are sometimes found in South Australia, Mexico, Indonesia, and Nevada in the USA.