How Can You Tell the Value Of Opal?

Please note that the ‘Smart Chart’ reported towards the bottom of this article, is no longer available due to the illness of it’s creator. We will keep reporting on any progress being made to replace it. In the meantime, please leave a message at the bottom of this blog if you need help in this regard.

As a rule when it comes to the value of opal, triplet opals and doublet opals are cheaper than solids, and a side view of the stone explains the difference, but this is not always the case. Some high quality triplets can be more expensive than lower quality solids. If you are confused about pricing, please ask us.

Compared with other more known gemstones, opal is quite new and this makes the value of opal difficult to arrive at because up untill recently there has been no consistent method to determine the value of opal. Although it has been known to Europeans for thousands of years, it did not become popular until it was found in quantity in Australia. (historical leather statement from pliny)

As top the Value of Opal, Many jewelers are unfamiliar with it, so often don’t carry stock, so the public does not get to see its beauty.  opals.co has two goals in mind.

First to tell everyone about this magnificent stone, and second to sell you a stone that you will be proud to wear. Whether you are a rich person, or like most of us, just making a living, opal is the stone for you. There’s nothing worse, if you are wearing a lovely ring, to have to admit that it is synthetic, if someone asks. The value of opal is not just in how much the stones are worth from a dollar point of view, but how much it is valued from a personal point of view.

The exciting part about opal is that it can be cut in a number of different ways to suit everyone’s pocket, and whether you can afford an expensive opal or a cheaper one, you can still proudly state that it is a REAL opal, not a synthetic. After you have studied this section, you will quickly see why the value of opal is established and why some opal is more expensive than others. If you are still a bit confused, just let us know your price limit and your color preference. We will then make some helpful suggestions about the value of opal and what you should purchase.

There is absolutely no obligation to buy. And we have an international guarantee of quality. You may return your purchase for refund, no questions asked. Please take note of freight and insurance details in our returns policy in this regard. Feel free to ask all the questions you like.

Suggestions in making a buying decision

  1. Determine your budget. How much can you afford? $10, $100, $500, $1000,$10,000 etc
  2. Purpose of the purchase.
  • Is it for you personally?. If so, perhaps you want to view it as an investment to be treasured and handed on to your children in time. In this case, you may want to spend more money and decide on a solid stone.
  • Is it for a gift? If so, maybe you don. t want to spend as much because you may have a lot of gifts to buy for various people, but you still want the item to look really expensive and appealing. In this case, go for a lower priced solid ,doublet, or triplet, in a gold plated rather than solid gold setting. This way your budget will be stretched further and you will achieve the same purpose. Remember, with gifts its not always the opal values but the kind thought and love expressed by them.
  • Keep in mind that if you buy multiples of gifts from our site, you can ask for a discount. Please do so when contacting me.

opal values over the yearsIn this section we have tried to explain the difference in valuing cut opal and opal values. For a brief outline of buying Rough Opals, click here.The Value of Opal is established by supply and demand. This makes it a more appealing investment than some other gems which are kept at high prices by cartels. Having said that, the increase in opal value in the last 30 years is impressive. The following chart shows what happened up until 1980. Since then, the Japanese have become obsessed with the stone, and prices have gone through the roof. In recent times, since the Japanese recession, prices have levelled off, and now is a very good time to buy.

Value of Opal Using New Computer Software

(unfortunately this chart has now been discontinued due to the illness of its creator, but a new improved one is in process.

The following is taken from ‘Computer Software’ about the opal values system designed to be used by computers called ‘The Opal Smart Chart”

  • World First -  Smart Chart: Value of Opal Appraisal Software
  • There is only one way to learn Opal values, that is by handling large volumes of Opal on a continuous basis.
  • There are only a handful of people worldwide capable of accurately valuing every variety of Australian Opal, most valuers, when confronted with Opal, seek assistance from an experienced Opal person, this costs time and money
  • The Smart Chart provides the means to access over 30 million Opals in photographic form, it will value these Opals in current dollar values by simply answering 14 photographic questions relating to Opal characteristics.
  • Each question is fully illustrated and is answered by simply clicking on the characteristic nearest to that of the stone in hand, help text is instantly available for each question, all photos enlarge for clearer viewing,
  • After answering all questions, press the relevant icon to obtain the value in a per carat and whole stone price for the stone in hand.
  • This can then be printed out along with the answers to the questions, which gives you both the value of opal and a verifiable document.
  • As a learning tool The Smart Chart has no equal, after valuing an opal the characteristics can be altered infinitely, change the color, insert inclusions, change shape, even change the variety, all changes and their effect on value are instantly available
  • Even a series of hypothetical Opals can be valued, The Smart Chart is fun to use and quite addictive.
  • The information section contains over 25 screens of text with many previously unrecorded tips, EG how to detect a boulder doublet in a bezel setting.
  • The text should be printed out and read thoroughly prior to seriously operating the program, this makes program operation easier and more accurate.
  • Valuers inexperienced in the value of opal could expect to take 2 to 3 minutes for a valuation, with program familiarity it could reduce to under 1 minute.
  • If the value generated by the program disproportionately varies from the expected result, the judgment of each question should be reviewed, if still evident, a second opinion from an experienced opal person should be sought.
  • If correct judgments are made, the program is designed to provide a correct value, which is slightly optimistic for high quality stones and pessimistic for low grade stones.
  • There is an extensive photo library showing a selection of each variety of Australian Opal.
  • A new program will be available annually containing additional information, more photos and updated prices.
  • All terminology conforms to CIBJO. Opal Nomenclature on the value of opal.

The Latest Research on the Value of Opal

New method of determining opal values

A new method of automated valuation using a machine and software is being developed to achieve a consistent way of obtaining the value of opal. By the looks of this, opal valuation will become easier to work out in time.  In the meantime, if you need some help with this, leave a message on this blog.  You can do your own research on opal valuation here and here . This is the latest information on this subject from the Australian government organisation CSIRO.


44 Responses to “Value of Opal”

  1. admin

    This is Peter from opals.co Peter Evans, the originator of the smart chart is no longer producing the program. Peter has not been well of late and is unable to keep up with the demands that the program entails. Please leave a message on this blog if you need help with opal values. Peter

    Reply
  2. wence curry

    I’am looking for someone to give me a price on a opal, I have in the rough 36 gems.

    Reply
    • admin

      Wence, if you have opals for sale you need to fill your details into the contacts page on this site so that i can advise you by email. This forum is non commercial and just for the comparing notes and making comments about opals and the opalmine site. Just go here for further help. Thanks Wence, hope we can help you sell your opals, or at least get an idea of the value. You will need to get some good macro shots of them as well. Peter

      Reply
  3. Carol Tatton

    I have a 14k black opal that was purchased for me in Australia in the mid 70′s. It is a extremely beautiful and unique stone. I am interested in selling this stone, how do I go about getting it’s value and where/how is the best way to sell it?

    Reply
    • admin

      Carol, you can start by getting some good close up shots of your jewelry item. (opal ring, opal pendant, opal bracelet) Take a look here for some ideas toward the bottom of the page. Then fill in your details here so that i can help you by email. Once we have the pics right, i can advise you on the best way to sell it. Hope that helps, Peter

      Reply
  4. Rob

    Hi Peter,

    Is there any rule of thumb between what an opal is valued at for insurance purposes versus market value? For example the insurance value is generally about 3 times the market value or something like that? The reason I ask is that we have an opal valued at 54 K and wonder what we might get for it in the real world. Any comments or suggestions very welcome,

    Thanks, Rob

    Reply
    • admin

      Rob, valuation is by no means an accurate science, if you could indeed call it a science at all. Try getting your house valued, and then selling it. Real estate agents look at what someone has been willing to sell their house for in a similar area and then use that as a gauge. Basically it all boils down to what people are willing to pay for something in a free market, uninhibited by the propping up of a cartel, as is the case with some commodities. (The Australian government tried doing it with wheat a few years ago and it flopped) What I can see you have there is a rare Opalized shell, probably from the Coober Pedy area. But of course the pictures are not so good so it could be from Lightning Ridge as well. Not being able to see the actual stone, its difficult to give an opinion. The last shell i sold a few years ago was around $5000, but they are becoming rare. There is an opal shell collector in Europe who buys anything different to what he already has but he’s not an easy guy to deal with and is always looking for a bargain. just as a guide, take a look at the opal shell set in diamonds and rubies here which sells for $26,000 . Its a rare piece. You have to find someone who is a collector so i would recommend you do some research on collectors online and let me know how you go. will try to give you a few more guidelines. Some rich clubs for example. The best idea is to find someone you know who has exclusive club connections. They will buy opals like your just as a talking point. Let me know how you go offline if you are talking peoples names and connections. have to respect privacy principles. Hope this helps Rob, Peter

      Reply
  5. Backslider

    You say there is a new and improved version of the Smart Chart in progress. Who is producing this and when will it be released?

    Reply
    • admin

      Backslider, sorry, i didnt get your real name. The CSIRO in Australia are working on it. I am not up to date with the latest on it but here is some information on it: here is the url that discusses the new system: and here

      Reply
  6. Backslider

    Peter, to answer your question, I am the developer of “The Smart Chart” (not Peter Evans), although as you well know, thats not what I called it. Since you were one of the original beta testers, I think thats enough information.

    Reply
    • admin

      I think i tried to contact you about this before but if not, please leave your contact details here so that we can talk about future supplies of the chart. it was excellent and customers are still asking for it. best wishes, sorry, i dont seem to have your name. Peter

      Reply
  7. wouterverhesen

    Can you answer perhaps a question I have? I always see black opal as a thin sheet of color on a black rock. But crystal opal for instance is completely opal through and through. So I find it strange to value a black opal by its weight. I hope you know what I mean.

    Reply
    • admin

      Yes, I know what you mean. But the black opal potch on the back of the opal ads to the value of the stone because it amplifies the color. Sometimes black opals are valued by the size as is white opal by calibration, but usually by the carat. Of course cutters understand the right thickness to apply so that the weight of the stone is not increased out of proportion to the size.

      If a piece of crystal opal is thinner than (approx) 3mm, and the color material is translucent enough for the dark background to show through, it can be made into a doublet. That is, the thin slice of crystal opal can be cemented to a black background. You can use a slab of black opal potch, or brown boulder ironstone for this purpose. Of course if you want to you can cut a very small stone around 6×4 mm out of a piece of opal just two mm thick but if the stone is around 12×10, or 14×10, it has to be thicker to be secure and is better turned into a doublet if its too thin without a backing. This matter is discussed in more detail in our book ‘opals for the ordinary Bloke’ Hope these details help Wouter, Peter

      Reply
    • Peter

      Wouter can you tell me if you ever got a reply to this question. it seems that some comments and questions are not being reported to me. for this i apologise if it has happened so please let me know. thanks so much, and best wishes, Peter

      Reply
  8. james fisher

    when the new software for valuing opals is ready please contact me so i can purchase a copy.

    Reply
    • Peter

      James can you tell me if you ever got a reply to this question. it seems that some comments and questions are not being reported to me. for this i apologise if it has happened so please let me know. thanks so much, and best wishes, Peter

      Reply
  9. summer

    i have a 24kart gold opal tennis bracelet good size opals , where can i find the value of it?

    Reply
    • Peter

      Summer, please go to http://opalmine.com/contact-us/ and fill in your details. you can then send me a picture of the opal and i will give you an approximate idea of its value. keep in mind that you will need a macro (close up) camera. Just put it on the automatic setting. if the picture is good enough i will do my best to help. best wishes, Peter

      Reply
    • Peter

      Summer, please take a look at the answer i gave below about filling in the contacts form and sending a picture of your opals. would be happy to give you an estimate. Free of course. best wishes Summer, Peter

      Reply
  10. DeQueen

    i have not found the PRICE of one. i myself own 4 opal gems. a pair of opal gem earrings, a necklace, and a ring. (teardrop size) my friend had a red ruby birthstone,( mine is a birthstone also) I NEVER like cheap things, or having cheaper things than other people.
    Please be honest, are red rubys worth more, or are opal gems?

    Reply
    • Peter

      DeQueen: Black Opal is getting so rare that one day there may not be any more black opals found. Of course there are white opals and crystal opals which are still being found but the Lightning Ridge black opal is just about non existant, because even when the economy is good and miners have money to spend on prospecting, opal is not easy to find and mining it can be very dangerous. The problem with this is that because there are so few black opals in the world, jewelers dont know much about them and often value them below their true value. But if you are buying opals for investment you have to make sure its a solid opal. Fortunately we still have reasonable stocks of black opals. let me know if you want to know more details. in the meantime please research http://www.opalmine.com more and also take a look at the amazing pictures of opals and the opalfields here: http://pinterest.com/petren/ here best wishes, and thanks for the question, Peter

      Reply
  11. Nikki Botes

    Hi, I have some opal peices that I need help determining its type and carat weight. From the hours and hours and hours Ive spent researching, I believe the two particularlly in question to me is Black Opal. I hought these peices over 11 years ago, the necklace being $1100 and bracelet $300. I am interested in selling them, but in order to find its value, I need help identifying the peices. May I send you some pictures of it all? Im finding it near impossible to even come close to a price value, and then help finding how to sell it and to who, for the best price, as like I said, not to get my hopes up, but I believe they are worth far more today. Thanks for any help!

    Nikki

    Reply
    • Peter

      Nikki, sorry, i missed your post. please contact me again if you still need help. you will need to get good quality close up pics of your items. Go to the opalmine.com site and click on services and go down to photography for some help on this. best wishes Nikki, Peter

      Reply
  12. Michael Lynch

    I have Mexican Fire Opals that I will be cutting, polishing, and marketing. I am new to this business, which is an understatement. How to best determine the value of my Opals? I have good photos, but see no option on this form to post those pictures. Suggestions?

    I thank you for your assistance.
    Michael Lynch
    San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

    Reply
    • Peter

      Michael, i will send you an email so that you can show me the pics. i will give you my opinion. best wishes, Peter

      Reply
  13. Brigitta

    Hej,

    Jag har massor av opaler hemma som vi köpte i Australien med intyg av äkta vara! Vart kan jag sälja dem?

    Med vänlig hälsning,
    Brigitta

    Reply
    • Peter

      translation from Swedish: I have lots of opals at home that we bought in Australia with the certificate of the real thing! Where can I sell them? Brigitta, please send me a couple of pictures cut down to around 300 kbs but make sure they are focused well. please go here for help with opal photography: http://opalmine.com/services/opal-photography/
      Jag har massor av opaler hemma som vi köpte i Australien med intyg om the real thing! Var kan jag sälja dem? Brigitta, skicka mig ett par bilder skärs ned till cirka 300 kbs men se till att de är fokuserade väl. vänligen gå hit för att få hjälp med opal fotografering: http://opalmine.com/services/opal-photography/ Peter

      Reply
  14. Sissy

    Hello
    I have a large collection of opals that was in my mother’s estate.
    They were swapped for a property in the 70′s.
    Please advise.

    Thank You

    Reply
    • Peter

      Sissy, regarding the opals, just email me peterATopalmine.com to see if i can give you some guidelines. Peter

      Reply
  15. Marie Norkunas

    Hello,
    I have a 35 years old Australian solid boulder opal, over 100 carats total weight with a brilliant rainbow color play in a brown ironstone.
    I am interested in selling it, and I need help finding how and where to sell it for the best price.
    The stone measures approximately 6.3cm in length, 1.9cm at its widest, the total iron stone thickness is 1cm and the actual tick layer of the opal is 0,5 mm. I believe a stone of this size and quality is extremely rare.
    Thanks for any help.
    Sincerely,
    Marie

    Reply
    • Peter

      Hi Marie. Well you could start by getting some good pictures of the boulder opal. Please reduce their size to around 500 kb in a graphics program and send them to the email shown in red to the top right of every page on this site. I will take a look at it and offer you some advice. best wishes Marie, Peter

      Reply
  16. Peggy Evenson

    I have an opal ring that was made for me, the opal is from Austrslia. How would I find out what type of opal this is and what it value is? It is a white opal with a few colors going through it. The setting it is in is home made, how would I get the stone out of the setting without damaging the stone? Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Peter

      Peggy, regarding your opal ring, you would need to get some good close up shots of it and email them to me. If you go to the email in red on the top right hand side of the site you can make the connection. if you need help with photography please go to http://opalmine.com/services/opal-photography/ and when sending pictures of the opal, make sure the size is cut down to around 500 pixels or around 100 kb or less. i will do my best to help you with the value. best wishes Peggy, Peter

      Reply
  17. Mitch

    I have two opals, i think its fire opal rough. Not certain of the origin. But they weigh about 1 oz maybe a bit more, my scale is not 100% acurate. The web link has high res macro pics of the larger one.

    Reply
    • Peter

      Mitch, i just took a look at your opal. pleased to offer some comments. it looks to be either from Nevada, Mexico, or Africa. From what i can tell the opal is the amber variety which means it doesn’t have a play of color but is what we call potch. As such it doesn’t have the value of colored opal unless of course i cant see some details. if the outside skin was cleaned away it might have color underneath but from what i can see it is pretty well specimen value and that could be any price. I dont deal in this type of opal so i’m not much help. i would suggest doing some research on Nevada opals and maybe try to sell it on eBay or if you want it cut and polished, i can help. Cutting price is $30 per stone or less if a few stones. best wishes Mitch, Peter

      Reply
      • Mitch

        Thanks for the help. I collect roughs well mostly geodes. There is some color brownish red in tinny spots but most of it is milky white almost like a hot glue stick but less transparent. I used a bright light to reveal the red spots but hard to captuer on a camera.

        Reply
        • Peter

          Mitch, yes its a nice specimen and i reckon the amber opal color would look very nice cut and polished. Much like Amber gemstone itself.

          Reply
  18. Tammy

    I have. a 1.28 pound boulder opal. Or I believe it is a boulder opal. It is bluish purple and has green flecks of sparkling color and pinks running through it. It is really pretty. I am trying to determine its value. Can you help me?

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Tammy. Regarding your boulder opal. Please get some clear pictures of the opal and send them to the email you will see on the front top right hand side of http://www.opalmine.com in RED I cant give it to you here because of spam problems. Please make sure you reduce the pictures to around 1000 pixels by using a graphics program. Dont send huge images from smart phones. If you dont know how to do this you will need to ask someone. Pleased to help if you do that. Best wishes, Peter

      Reply
  19. Jessica

    Hi Peter,
    I’ve been trying to find an honest buyer for my grandmothers opal brooch. I live in Arizona. Any suggestions? Thank you for any help.
    Sincerely, Jessie

    Reply
    • admin

      Jessie regarding the opal brooch, Please get some clear pictures of the opal and send them to the email you will see on the front top right hand side of http://www.opalmine.com in RED I cant give it to you here because of spam problems. Please make sure you reduce the pictures to around 1000 pixels by using a graphics program. Dont send huge images from smart phones. If you dont know how to do this you will need to ask someone. Pleased to help if you do that. Best wishes, Peter

      Reply

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