Opal Rings in Silver

Why has silver become so popular in opal rings?

Opal rings in silver?  One major reason is an economic one.  I remember when gold was $40 a troy oz back in the early 70’s.  We all have our ‘if only’ memories.  ‘if only’ we had bought a couple of kilos of the yellow stuff back then, we would be sitting pretty today.  Or to put it more personally, my cousin Glen, who was a gold miner in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia where i was born, sold me a bunch of large gold nuggets he had found, for about that price.  At the time i tried to sell them in the Opal Miner’s Hut, my opal shop, and no one wanted them.  I eventually sold them out at near cost.  Haa… what a mistake!

Investment comments, July 2017 – just for interest

Buy opal rings in silver will more than half the cost of the item

Although it’s reported that percentage wise, silver is now increasing in value at a greater amount than gold because it’s a much more practical metal.  Not only does it look good with opal or indeed with any gemstone, but it’s a fraction of the price.  From an investment point of view silver is used much more in the manufacturing process that gold even with the lack of demand for the metal in the photography process, now that digital has taken over.  Even so, the metal is not nearly as rare as gold so it’s still much more affordable.  History of silver here

What is the appeal of creating opal rings in silver metal?

boulder opal in silver

Well, opal is a very versatile Australian gemstone.  It comes in many varieties. However the major categories are as follows:

  • Crystal or white opal from the Coober Pedy, Andamooka, and White Cliffs areas of South Australia and Southern New South Wales.
  • Black opal from the Lightning Ridge field in New South Wales
  • Boulder Opal from Queensland’s North West.

Some of these varieties present very well in a white metal like silver or white gold.  For example, the dark background of the black and boulder opals contrast nicely with the shiny white color of these metals.  Boulder opal particularly when the opal color is cut and polished in association with the chocolate brown ironstone which often surrounds the color, it forms what could be described as a dark frame between the opal color and the metal.  Opal rings in silver like this creates a delightful contrast.

How about the convenience of this metal from a manufacturing point of view

Well it can be stated that, because the metal is much cheaper than gold, the manufacturer doesn’t have to be so careful in saving costs.  He or she can create heavier designs which make the opal ring more wearable and less delicate.  This provides a particular advantage to opal rings for guys who tend to give them a lot more rough treatment.

How does sterling silver influence the opal ring designer and manufacturer?

Again, for economic reasons, the designer can be more creative if he or she doesn’t have to constantly be concerned with keep the weight of the metal down. This means that opal rings can be produced that are more unique and adventurous in the final presentation.

Australian opal rings in silver, international warranties are important

Look for a supplier that gives a perpetual guarantee to add security to your purchase.  Also look for suppliers who cover you for the freight charge which can be expensive if the item comes from a different country to yours.

Sizing a ring to suit your finger or the person you are giving it to

Click here to find out an easy way of getting the right finger size without having to go to a jeweler


We recommend this site because of the amount of satisfaction reflected in the comments. Example below:

“I recommend this site to anyone interested in Excellent Quality and workmanship! The boulder opal watch that I purchased from this website is Absolutely Gorgeous! I get compliments on it every time I wear it!
Great communication from the Customer Service department as well. I couldn’t be more pleased!!”

Laurie Z. Penn, Radcliff, KY USA

buying opals

man made lab opal beads (note the similarity)

Buying opals from jewellers or online sellers who do not specialize in opal

Buying opals for jewelry is a great decision because of the uniqueness and beauty of the stone which changes color when turned.  But this practice is fraught with danger. In the past 30 years or so, clever marketers have found ways of producing gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds and more recently, opals that look not just like the real thing but are actually produced in a laboratory.  It’s fine to own costume jewelry if that’s what you want but if you want the real thing, be careful of this practice.   Unfortunately because opal is such a specialized gemstone, many jewelers themselves dont know much about it and are confused about its origin.

Buying opals that will crack or craze in a relatively short time

Opals and other gemstones such as emeralds have a tendency to crack if they are not from reliable sources.  Emeralds are often treated with oil that can hide the cracks. Opal cracks are more difficult to hide but because opal is hydrated silica (meaning it has a percentage of water content.)  This is fine, if the opal comes from the Australian outback deserts where the stone has been dried out over probably thousands of years.

Many opals being marketed cheaply are from coastal wet or  mountainous areas where the water content is too high.  These stones will almost certainly crack in time.  You will need to make sure, even if your stone IS from Australia, that you have an international perpetual guarantee from a reliable supplier with a good reputation.

Buying opals that will lose their color almost immediately if you soak them in water

buying opals

opal that could lose color in water

For a similar reason as the comments made above, opals from wet areas are also very porous which means that the surface of the stone can be like blotting paper. If you happen to wear your opal ring in the wash-up or the shower, it will almost certainly suck in the moisture and turn beautiful color into an ugly brown.

A good indication of this type of porous opal is that they are often faceted like diamonds and sapphires, rather than cut with a dome. This is not always the case but because they are often more translucent than opaque the stone presents better with facets. This is an immediate indication that it could well be a stone that will probably change color.  It is said that if you put these stones in the sun for a while, the color will return but since they are often prone to cracking as well, this can be a risky procedure.

Buying opals without a high dome that are claw set

For claws to be closed onto a stone successfully its almost imperative that the stone is high domed or there will be a tendency for  the hardness of the gold or silver claws to chip the edge of the opal.  We are not saying that you should not buy stones like this because if they have been successfully closed without chipping the stone, thats fine.  just look very closely and ask the supplier if the setting is perfect.

Buying opals without reading the small print to make sure it’s not ‘lab’ opal or man made

Even in some well respected online shopping sites, because the promoters are not opal experts, they don’t know anything about the differences between natural and synthetic opal. Often the individual promoters on these sites will hide the real identification of the opal within the body of extensive explanations and it’s so easy to read a paragraph and not even notice the ‘lab opal’ or ‘laboratory opal’ or ‘created opal’ identification. Sure, in MOST cases reputable sites will mention this but if you are not looking for it, it can easily be missed, resulting in you paying for something that looks OK but is not real.

Buying opals that have the same color on the front as the back of the stone

This is an excellent tell tale way of identifying a synthetic opal at a glance even if you don’t know much about the stone.  It doesn’t ALWAYS apply because on occasions natural gemstones are the same color right through the stone but usually the back of the stone will have some imperfections or at least will have different patterns to the top of the stone.

So if you are buying an opal unless it’s from a reputable opal dealer, always ask to see the back of the stone as well as the front.  If the back of the jewelry item is covered by gold and silver, it’s impossible to check, so don’t buy it unless you have absolute perpetual guarantee that it is natural.  We say ‘perpetual’ because if the item is only guaranteed for a year, often the cracks or change of color will occur a couple of years down the track.

Buying opals that have a pattern that does not look natural

When synthetics were first invented they had a pattern that was obviously unnatural because the pattern ‘looked’ man made being too symmetrical.  However this is not a good guide today because they have overcome this problem in the laboratory and unless you are an expert it can be very difficult from the foreground of the stone to tell the difference.

This just emphasizes again that unless you are dealing with a trained opal processor who gives an international perpetual guarantee, you really don’t know what you are buying and this piece of advice does not apply just to opal because jewellers shops nowadays are full of beautiful ‘rubies’ ‘sapphires’ and ‘diamonds’ which are man-made.  As mentioned earlier, not that this is wrong. There is a market for them, as long as you know what you are buying and you are paying the right price for what is actually costume jewelry.

Catherine March 30th, 2013  one of thousands reported here

Just wanted to say a big thank you to Peter for his advice. I was considering buying a 1920s opal ring at auction and asked Peter how big an issue the crazing was, and thanks to him I was saved from buying a worthless stone! Much appreciated.  – Catherine, USA


We focus on rings. They are always the jewelry item that gets the roughest treatement because as much as we are advised not to wear them in the garden, in the washup, or working on the car, we seem to forget about it, resulting in all sorts of grubby things attaching themselves to the setting.

  1. Get yourself a medium hardness toothbrush (an old one will be fine).
  2. Use a medium sized basin. It doesn’t matter what type it is
  3. Lay a dishcloth or something soft in the bottom of the basin
  4. In case you drop the ring. you don’t want it to fall onto a hard surface
  5. Get some ordinary wash up detergent and put a few drops on the top of the ring
  6. If it’s a gemstone ring give the gem a good scrub with the frothy mix
  7. Use some of the same detergent in the back of the ring
  8. Push the tooth brush through the ring and firmly hold the ring in your other hand
  9. Rotate the brush back and forth so that the rear of the gemstone gets a good scrub
  10. The reason for doing this is that often diamonds (for example) are dull because of dirt attached to the rear of the stone, not necessarily the front
  11. Then rinse the ring in clear water from the tap scrubbing it with the toothbrush
  12. After you have rinsed it, wipe it carefull with a thin towel
  13. Make sure while you are doing this that you are standing over a carpeted area of hold it over an open towel in case you drop it on concrete or the like
  14. After drying you might want to put it under a warm light for a while because the cloth will not dry all areas
  15. When it is dry you can then go to work with the gold and silver polishing cloth we have given you
  16. One side of the cloth is for gold. The other is for silver so be sure to use the right side
  17. Again make sure you are standing over a towel or carpeted floor in case you drop it
  18. Just polish it vigorously until the metal shines and finish it off with a thin dry towel
  19. Make sure you clean the inside of the ring as well so that not grime gets onto you finger
  20. Enjoy the delight of seeing your precious posession looking a lot better than before.



Opal Jewelry Suggestions

Go here for Opalmine.com shop for opal gifts

Shop for thousands of opals from unset stones to all varieties of opal jewelry

 The opal miners hut became a reality in 1977 but the owner Peter Brusaschi started in the opal mining industry back in 1972. Opalmine.com appeared on the internet not long after the very beginning of this new way of shopping, in 1996

Imagine walking into an opal jewelry shop and being able to talk directly to the owner who is also the one who actually mines, cuts, polishes, designs, sets, and promotes the gemstones and jewelry being sold. Not only can you spoil yourself with the sight of gorgeous sparkly opal jewelry on display but you are able to find out all about the opal of your choice

Natural Opal only

Imagine too that in this same opal jewelry store, you are NOT going to be presented with things that are made in a laboratory but are rather directly from mother earth, enhanced only by the process of opal cutting and polishing.  A quick search of the Internet, even in famous stores such as Amazon, reveals that probably 90% of opals on display are synthetic, and sadly are marketed in such a way that, if you don’t read the fine print, you will mistake them for real.

But at opalmine.com you can feel safe in the knowledge that not one of the opal pendants or opal rings on display is synthetic.  All are natural opals from Coober Pedy, Lightning Ridge, or the Western Queensland opal fields, Australia.

Australian opal only

One of the main reasons we can offer this guarantee is, not only are the opals natural, but unless stated clearly, they are ALL from Australia and if you do the research you will find that this country is the only source of opal that you can trust not to break or fade.

Getting the right finger size for your opal ring

Other unique aspects about our store is the fact that much attention is given to making sure you get the right after sales service.  For example, if you buy a ring, you need to know that it will fit the finger of the person who will wear it. We can either control this process here, or give advice to your jeweler wherever you live.  We even show you how to find the size yourself if you don’t want to search for a jeweler who will do it.

Large choice of opal prices

At opalmine we have something for everyone.  If you can only afford $20 or so, in the opal bargain department we have some nice little opal pendants in gold plate for as little as $15 and that includes the shipping.  

If you can afford around $100 we have lots of opal pendants with matching earrings in sterling silver or gelded finish.  If you can afford a little more, there’s opals for a few hundred dollars up to many thousands of dollars.

Opals for the girls and the guys

Opal bracelets, opal brooches, opal earrings, with rings for men or women.  Opal tie tacks and tie bars. Opal cuff links and belt buckles.  Girl’s if your guy likes to dress up with a tie and long sleeved shirt, nothing looks more stunning that a brilliant multi colored opal.

Guarantees for your opal choice

Best of all you can feel safe in the knowledge that guarantees for all opals sold at opalmine.com don’t run out in one year.  We have a perpetual lifetime guarantee on everything sold. Customers get back to us after more than ten years if they need help with an opal they have bought.  

These comments are easy for us to say and ‘self recommendation is no recommendation’ so we invite you to take a look at just a few of the tens of thousands of comments people have made about us over the years, verifying these claims.

Feel safe and experience the joy you will feel at opalmine.com

Most of all enjoy the feeling of wearing a stunning multi colored opal ring and think about how it will look on your finger or as a pendant around your neck…Just Beautiful!

opal jewelry

Anniversary gifts

Unique ways to say ‘I love you’

brilliant triplet opal with lots of red set in gold plated silver

Red based opal pendant

Contrary to popular belief, the idea of giving something to someone just because it’s their birthday or Christmas, or some other popular celebration, does not necessarily indicate a unique way to say ‘love you’ darling, dear, or whatever is your favorite expression for someone you really cherish.

To start with, if someone knew that you were only getting in touch with them, giving them a phone call, or making an arrangement to have coffee somewhere, because the inspiration came from a list of ‘things that must be done’ on the front page of your computer, or a reminder in your automatic outlook calendar, do you think they would feel that you are wanting to say ‘I love you’

Or, if you are on Skype, you get these automatic reminders of people you have done business with  that today is their birthday and you should send them a birthday. Do you think this conveys the idea that you are REALLY concerned for them, or would they think that there is a business motive.

A sudden, ‘out of the blue’ phone call, just saying that you are thinking about a person and just wanted to say hello and ask how they are can be more valuable than an expensive gift, particularly if someone you know tends to get depressed at times.

opal pendant with multiple stone surround

Ladi-Di style opal pendant

We are all inundated with ‘merry Christmas’ cards at the end of the year from firms we have bought something from and while there are probably a percentage of folks who actually believe that someone in that office is REALLY thinking of their welfare, most people would ignore such cards as another ‘ploy’ to make a sale.

Well, I think you have got the point. Not only are many of these celebrations rooted in ancient pagan practices but they are often designed to cater to a commodity based society where ‘things’ and ‘possessions’ mean more than people and love for humanity.

However, I hear you say, the fact is that we are all a part of the commercial system and it’s impossible to escape the fact that we are driven by the need not just to love but to exist, to enjoy life and support it with gadgets, many of which are of practical use to make us more comfortable and to give us (often quite temporary) happiness.

We have to concede this, and hypocritically some would say, that this very site caters for this need and someone is being supported by the purchase of gifts.

Yes that is true.  I guess this article is just trying to encourage folks not to give gifts just in response to some obligatory event but rather to choose something that will convey a feeling of love that will be a good investment that will last not just for a few days or months, but perhaps for many years.

gents or ladies boulder opal pendant with coin size comparison

Gents or Ladies boulder opal pendant

Anniversary Gifts- Unique ways to say I love you:

Jewelry, in the case opal jewelry is not the only way of doing this but it could well be a good suggestion, depending on the person receiving the gift and the budget of the person giving it.  The little white board cartoon with this article is a comical way of describing the gift giving process, in this case for an anniversary.

We hope you enjoyed it along with this (some would say) unusual article on unique ways to say ‘love you’

Say it in different languages guys. In case your girl is from a different culture. And if you girls want ideas for giving to guys, check out the gents pendant and see the size comparison to the left.   Take a look at the multitude of ideas here

There is no doubt that verbal expressions saying ‘i love you’ and meaning it are more important than gifts of ‘things’ but it would have to be said that gifts certainly do add emphasis to what we say because each time they are observed by the receiver, it is a small reminder of the importance of what has been said, whether it was just yesterday or 50 years ago.

Anniversary Gift Ideas

Anniversary gift ideas

Large Black Opal pendant gift for anniversary

Large Black Opal pendant

There’s something about giving something to someone that does something special to us humans. As the ancient scriptures said, to quote: “there is more happiness in giving, than there is in receiving” and that truism has remained unchallenged for over 2000 years.Well, of course, as with every wise saying, there are many who would question it and challenge its validity in this greedy dog-eat-dog world, but those generous souls who still inhabit this amazing planet stick by this principle and I would wager to say that even though they may not be the richest folks financially, they would definitely be richer in happiness and in human relationships.

Gift giving concept problems

There are many…. but this article crystallizes them into just a couple of objections

1.    If you keep giving, you will only attract takers who will just bleed you for everything you have and…

2.    Gifts are often not given spontaneously but rely on occasions to prompt the action. The danger being that the action is taken not necessarily out of a true feeling of love but out of a feeling of obligation.

Giving to those who don’t appreciate it

To address the first objection, it would have to be said that this will always be the case. No matter how you try to be generous, there will always be people who will keep taking and will not reciprocate buy a demonstration of appreciation. If you are a generous person you will just have to expect this and not allow it to destroy your good intentions. For the amount of folks who will treat you in this way, you are sure to find folks who will really thank you for your kindness and will hand back to you on a platter, feelings that will give you the greatest happiness.

No matter how much we are told that humans are really only just another form of evolved animals, those who really think about it know that happiness is more important than ‘things’ and the greatest happiness is achieved by generosity and the habit of doing things for others without making them feel that they have to give you something back. So, again, as the old scriptures say: “Do not forget the doing of good…for by doing this, some have entertained angels”

Anniversary ideas:

(Gift giving to those who have a special place in our hearts)  No all ‘triggered’ gift giving is wrong. Sometimes, because of the busy lives we live, we sometimes forget to say thanks or do something to show we appreciate those close to us (or for that matter, strangers too) Anniversaries are an example of this.

Too many marriages are ending up in divorce because of taking one another for granted. Despite what evolutionists would tell us, we are not Chimpanzees!. We are affected by what others say and do and a spoken word at the right time can serve to dissolve difficult situations that are bound to arise between two people who love one another.

Anniversary Gifts by year

And nowadays there is no excuse if you have a calendar in your email program so that a little note comes up reminding us of anniversary gifs by year. Unfortunately a lot of these email based calendars don’t even give you a days notice so the good old sticker note attached to your monitor might be a better option.

This might sound a bit mechanical but like we said, it is a busy world and if you are like our family, people are coming and going all the time, demanding our time and everything seems to stop when we make sure that folks feel welcome over a cup of coffee.

Anniversary Gifts for HER

Hesitatingly we say that gifts for the girls might be said to be slightly more important than the opposite, considering the makeup of many of our dear wives or girlfriends, many of whom just CANNOT do without jewelry and flowers.

The guys mostly have a different point of view on that subject. (You would be correct in assuming that there is a guy writing this article so I am trying to be as neutral as possible and if anyone has some objections, please make your point in the blog in this site. We would be delighted to hear from you)

anniversary ideas crystal opal ring with diamond

crystal opal ring with diamond

So, we have to make it pretty easy for the guys in this case because it wouldn’t be any revelation to state that guys are not the best at selecting clothing, or ornaments, or other things that girls like.

Flowers are always a good bet because guys can get their gift giving training on this commodity by observing what type of flowers the girls like, or what they have bought for them on previous occasions.

In the case of jewelry, this takes a bit more thinking and budgeting because you can go crazy spending more than your budget very easily because we are not talking about a $20 bunch of carnations, or a liver orchid that could set you back $50 to $100.

We are talking about something that you could easily spend thousands of dollars on and that’s ok if you are in that financial league but most folks are not.

Anniversary ideas in jewelry

If it’s a girl reading this article, there should be no need to go into too many details about the different types of jewelry, but keeping in mind that approximately 50% males and 50% females read blog articles at least at our site, www.opalmine.com it would make sense to make sure that they guys know what we are talking about.

brilliant green triplet opal ladie di style with crystal surround

brilliant green triplet opal

black opal pendant with diamonds free-form setting

black opal pendant with diamonds

Anniversary pendants or necklaces

For example, what’s the difference between a pendant and a necklace? Well, they both hang around the neck but there is a difference. Pendants are usually single jewelry items with a bale (a hole for the chain to go through) at the top, whereas a pendant is often a multi layered jewelry piece often involving multiple jewelry designs and, or, gemstones with a chain attached without the need of a bale.

Anniversary Rings

Rings don’t need any explanation, but styles of rings certainly do. Rings can be made of metal such as gold in various karats such as 9k, 14k,18k, with or without attached gemstones. For anniversaries, some choose to have a name engraved in a ring. Others would like to buy a ring with one of the many varieties of gemstones either claw or bezel set into the gold or silver.If you are a guy reading this article, certain decisions must be made that can be difficult, particularly if you want to keep the gift a secret until the appropriate time. If you are deciding to get a gemstone, you must think about the type of gems your wife or girlfriend is attracted to.

Nowadays, since diamonds are becoming more plentiful with the use of many tiny diamonds that are not so expensive as large ones, the trend is to wear something a bit more imaginative such as a colored gemstone.

Colored gem categories, to state a few are: Blue, green, and party colored sapphires, amethysts, citrines, emeralds, rubies etc. One gemstone which seems to encompass and contain a little bit of all the gemstones is Opal since it features a change of color from red to blue, green, yellow, orange and all the rest of the color spectrum. Often you can figure out what your wife likes by the color of the outfits she favors.

As far as ring design is concerned, ask yourself if your wife likes more plain straightforward designs or does she prefer more complex intricate designs in clothing and attire. It could be that she will like something with an outstanding opal or sapphire as the center stone, encased in small diamonds as a feature.

Anniversary gifts for husband.

boulder opal tie tack for gents tie

boulder opal tie tack

This can be a real challenge for you girls. And it could be that his workshop is full of all sorts of saws, drills, hammers, screwdrivers and chisels the result of both things he has bought for himself combined with previous anniversary guesses.

Of course guys really like tools and ‘fix it’ things but in one way, they are pretty impersonal. Buying a guy a hammer and a shovel might imply something a bit separated from the concept of romance and marriage consolidation.

Guys usually don’t look at it that way, but it could well be that something more personal such as a gents ring or a bola tie might be more appropriate as an anniversary gift.

boulder opal ring for gents

gents boulder opal ring

Rings for guys again take different forms although not as complex as the girls. There are signet rings which usually feature either a rectangle, square, or oval top with a gemstone set or just plain gold or silver perhaps with some sort of design or workmanship engraved on the top. I could be a plain top with one single small faceted stone in one corner.The problem can be that guys generally wear larger rings than girls and large gemstones can be extremely expensive unless you go for a synthetic stone. A really interesting compromise to this is to invest in a Queensland Boulder opal from Australia. These amazing pieces have varying colors and patterns appearing naturally in a bed of chocolate ironstone which is part of the natural boulder they come from.

Again, depending on whether your guy is more the type who likes refined and less rugged looking attire, you could go for a very neat small oval stone. But if your man likes more ‘blokey’ styles as we would say in Australia, you could shop for a ring that has not so much color but more of the natural ironstone with interesting abstract features that ad interest to the jewelry item.

If your guy likes wearing ties and dress shirts, you could opt for either a tie tack or a tie bar, and, or cuff links to match.

Anniversary gifts for boyfriend

Well, this terminology seems to be a bit out of context because anniversaries are meant to be for married folks and you measure them from the first year on. Well, I guess if your marriage day is being put off for a while, you could measure the time from when you first met. Anyway the advice in this section would be a repetition what has been said in the former paragraphs.

Anniversary gifts for parents

This now comes into the realm of sons and daughters making the right decision for their parents. The focus of attention in this area obviously is based on expressing appreciation for what mums and dads have done for their kids over possible a long period of time.

It could be that your father and mother are celebrating 50 years of marriage, or it could be any time in between.  The same principles as mentioned above can be applied to anniversary gifts for parents and jewelry is quite often an excellent option.


Source of article:

Peter Brusaschi

Opal expert since 1972









Genuine opal jewelry

Genuine Opal jewelry

Natural boulder opal pendant with leather hanger

Natural boulder opal pendant

The other day i was browsing a respectable online shopping site and, because i specialize in real opal at the opalmine site, the announcement ‘genuine opal jewelry’ caught my attention. I am always interested in what my competitors are selling. It gives me an idea of what is in demand and what people like to see.  Then i noticed the price of this top quality crystal opal that looked like it had come direct from the Coober Pedy Opalmines in Australia.  click here to see some genuine crystal opals along with some boulders unset)

Unbelievably it was UNDER $50!!  Of course the alarm bells rang immediately and i decided to take a closer look at this ‘bargain’ because stones like this sell for around $500.  Many people would not read the fine print, being happy to go along with the initial ‘genuine opal’ claim, but reading further, the truth was offered for all to see.  Yes it was genuine opal, but not NATURAL genuine opal.  It was a genuine LAB opal, which means that the opal was created in a laboratory by  gemstone chemists.

There are a few types of fake opals

but as far as i know there is only one fake that can be termed ‘synthetic’ opal and that is the one created by Pierre Gilson back in the 70’s.  This opal closely resembles the real thing, being based on silicon. click here for a longer conversation about this

Other mimics

are based on both glass and plastic. Slocum stone is made from glass.  Opalite from plastic. Both types are often called ‘opal Essence’  My investigations indicate that there is a huge amount of fake opal being sold on auction and other online jewelry sites that look for the world like the real thing at bargain prices. This article is not to undermine the synthetic stone industry  because it has its place in the world of jewelry along with synthetic sapphires, rubies and other gemstones.

If you finances are limited, these products create a helpful niche in the jewelry industry, the same way that plastic shoes and flowers fill a need in the world of footwear and fashion. The reason for this article is to alert buyers that these fakes are on offer and they should be purchased with a proper understanding of what they are rather than to pay for something that is not what you think it is.

natural boulder opal ring triangular shape set in pure sterling silver

natural boulder opal ring

So when you see a beautiful ‘opal’ ring or pendant online at a really cheap price, read the description carefully and if the identification of the stone is not clear, be sure to ask the vendor before committing.

Feel free to give us your comments or questions on this subject in the blog provided



opal crystal pendants

The Opal crystal pendants you see here

solid piece of coober pedy crystal opal carved into a rose

Sold opal Rose carving

are part of one ‘family’ of crystal opals noted in the following data base codes: 4188, 4344, 4312, 4318

A detailed summary of a unique solid crystal opal from the Lightning Ridge fields in outback Australia set in precious 14 karat yellow gold.  The pendant has been set in what is termed a ‘bezel’  This term is jeweller speak so for the benefit of all we offer this definition:

In jewelry (jewellery) a grooved ring or part holding a gem or watch face  This means that the center stone, in this case an Australian opal, Is held in place by a rim of gold that is rolled slightly over the stone and held securely in place.  The alternative to this is to use claws or prongs of gold to do the same thing.

The number of claws can be left to the jewelry designers discretion.  It can be just four, or it could have many claws surrounding the gem.

crystal opal drop set in gold with one small diamond

crystal opal drop set in gold

The opal in this particular pendant is a classic example of a cross between a dark opal and a crystal. Other pages on this site will give you the definitions of these terms but briefly a dark or black opal is a natural solid stone that has been found with dark or black potch (unformed opal) to the rear of the stone, thus giving it a darker and more opaque starker appearance.

A crystal opal is not opaque.  That is, the color is not just surface but can be seen down into the gem because the light is able to penetrate and make it more translucent.

On rare occasions you will find an opal that has both these qualities, and this is the case with the stone in opal pendant 4188.  Both sides of the stone are darker and the middle tends to be more crystal and lighter.

The appealing part about opals like this is that they are easily identified as natural, non synthetic gems. Nowadays there are so many ways used by smart dealers to create gems in laboratories that look for the world like natural stones but are in fact made of variations of plastics and other components.

Not that these laboratory stones don’t look nice. They really do. Just like a cubic zirconia or other synthetic diamonds.  It’s difficult to tell the difference and if your budget demands a very low price, that of course is the way to go.

However, if you can afford to own the real thing, it’s nice to be able to do that, and stones such as the one in question, as aforesaid, are quickly seen to be natural.

Opal Pendant 4188 has a classic swirl design. The brilliantly polished 14 karat yellow gold is carefully shaped into very appealing swirls right from the bale at the top to the cute extension at the bottom. And to add to this wonderful design, we note that approximately 20 tiny diamonds have been let into the swirls to add sparkle to this already appealing design.

Australian Opals even unset stand out from all other gems in the world because of their very appealing change of color.  But encased in precious gold and diamonds as this one is, make them stand out even more.  We hope you enjoyed our description of this delightful pendant.



Opal Rings For Sale

Opal rings for sale

Accompanied by diamonds

black opal from Australia set in gold ring with diamonds

black opal ring

In this article you are going to find out just about all there is to know about opal rings. Their history, the way they are presented, their association with other gemstones such as diamond, the metals used in their construction and what makes them appealing to first of all women and then men.

The practice of wearing finger rings goes back a long time into history. If you visit the British Museum or the Penn museum in Pennsylvania you will find examples of rings stretching back to around 2000 BC. Of course these rings were not opal because at this point in history its doubtful that anyone knew anything about this amazing stone.

Ancient Gemstones

Popular gems of the day were Lapis Lazuli, agates, and onyx, mainly set in pure gold or silver. Many rings were made without gemstones at all, more or less like engagement rings today.

Rings were often worn with an official stamp or seal and usually owned by Kings and important officials in association with sealing wax poured on envelopes containing confidential and official documents. However early in history they were also used as they are today as a jewelry decoration or a symbol of status.

Just why it is that women (mainly) and men love rings and all forms of jewelry I guess is for the same reason that we like to dress up and women particularly are conscious of fashion and what suits their own particular taste. I suspect that there is a certain amount of vanity involved as well when friends and associates see someone wearing something that looks really nice.

Opal and Diamond Ring

The idea of setting and creating an opal and diamond ring, came very much later in history. Probably not until the 20th century. Of course diamonds were not cut into facets until the seventeenth century.

black opal from Australia set in gold ring with diamonds surrounding the opal

black opal ring with diamond surround

But even though opals were mined in Europe throughout the centuries, it wasn’t until they were found in Australia that they became available in commercial quantity and could be relied upon not to crack or be insecure as the opals in Hungary and the Czech republic could sometimes be. Hence, the opal diamond ring was born and the neutral color of diamonds provided a really outstanding setting for the center stone.

Size of diamonds in relation to opal, the center stone

Usually the diamonds associated with opal rings are quite small. Perhaps one pointer or two pointers often set on either side of the opal, either in sets of two or three. Sometimes mimicking a heart or other shape. Or as in the case of Prince Charles first wife, Lady Di, who wore a large sapphire as the center stone, the traditional setting of small diamonds covering the full circumference of the center stone. We often call this style the ‘Lady Di’ design.

Opal engagement Ring and the opal wedding ring

It was only a matter of time before the opal and diamond ring came into being and as an offshoot, the opal engagement ring and the opal wedding ring became popular among more adventurous newlyweds. Opal of course is not as hard as diamonds but if set in a sensible way can be used successfully. Many if not all diamond rings are set with claws because as most people know there is no natural color in a diamond unless it has been interfered with by the diamond cutter who cuts facets into it.  You can find opal rings for sale here

Diamond facets

It took a long time for lapiderists to work out the right angles of the facets and how many to make to capture the most light and color reflection from the spectrum. In order for this light diffraction to take place it is necessary to expose the stone to as much light as possible and claws are the preferred method of doing this rather than bezels which cover the edges of the stone.

The secret of opal change of color

In the case of opal, it is totally different because the color play comes from WITHIN the stone itself, and does not depend on facets to create opalescence. After years of speculation as to how this amazing stone could change color from reds to greens, to blues, crimsons, and yellows by itself without human interference eventually the electron microscope revealed the secret.

The surface of opal is made of minuscule spheres that create the change of color phenomenon. As far as known, all opal, even common opal that has no color (called “potch” in the opal industry) is structured in this way. But for some reason that this author does not understand, when the spheres form an organized structure in racks, the common opal becomes precious opal. The largest spheres capture the red color from the spectrum. The smallest spheres blue, and all the other colors are in between.

Opals can be set in claws as well as bezels but the latter are safer for more rugged wear

The definition of a ‘bezel’ is as follows: A rim of mental either gold, silver or any metal that surround a gemstone or a watch to hold it in place. A bezel is more secure than claws unless the claws totally surround the stone which does make them more secure. A bezel gives a protective shield around cabochon (round top or convex) cut gemstones such as jade, amethyst, opal, or indeed any gemstone, that has a more opaque appearance. (Opaque means that the color is coming from the gem surface itself and does not require color to travel through the stone to create an interaction of light)

Hence if you are thinking of an opal as an engagement ring, bezels are preferred. The only caution is to be sensible about their care. It’s best not to wear expensive rings in the wash-up or in the garden for obvious reasons in case the stone comes in contact with something harder than itself. This caution applies just as much to diamonds and sapphires as it does to opals. Anyway one who wears a claw set diamond in the garden or anywhere where the claws could be dislodged is asking for trouble. other examples of opal rings for sale here


Opal rings for women and men

boulder opal gents ring set in sterling silver

boulder opal gents ring

Although opal rings for women have always been more popular, the more masculine appearance of boulder opal with lots of ironstone in the foreground became much in demand by guys both as rings and belt buckles as well as bola ties.

Boulder Opals

Loose boulder opal from yowah fields australia

Loose Yowah opal

Boulder opals, to many folks are just so amazing and unique. In a world where more and more synthetics are taking over our lives, boulder opals stand out in the world of gems as being something that cannot be mimicked if the foreground of the stone is a combination of chocolate ironstone direct from mother earth, intermingled with fascinating colors and patterns.

Boulder opals with less color and more ironstone patterns particularly appeal to the guys because they have a more rugged appearance and are more noteworthy in their unique patterns than the brilliance of them gem itself.

Natural Opal Rings
from the Opalmine store

In more recent years synthetic and other fake opals have been produced which can at times be confused with the real thing and if a person has limited finance they can look really nice but of course for the little extra you pay its nice to be able to say that your jewelry piece is a true opal and the demand for natural opal rings far out ways the popularity of the cheap synthetics.

Fake or synthetic Opal

Synthetic opal from what we can tell, was invented in a laboratory by Gilson of France back in the 1970’s. This type of fake opal mimics the real thing because it is actually grown from similar materials to the natural stone and although at times the pattern gives it away as not being real, it certainly is a great imitation.

Other fake opals from what we can tell have percentages of plastic and other materials but also can look very convincing. The worry for opal lovers, particularly if they are buying off the internet, is how to tell the difference and to be frank, even opal experts would find it difficult to tell without looking at the stone in real life.

How to tell if opal is real or a fake

The best guide without looking under magnification is the price. If you are being offered a top quality black or crystal opal for $50 including the setting, the alarm bells should go off immediately and you would be wise to bring the matter up with the supplier and ask the straight out if its real or synthetic.

Natural full color black and boulder opal can be very expensive, and not everyone can afford hundreds, thousands, or indeed tens of thousands of dollars on a gemstone.

black or boulder opal set in white gold

black opal in white gold ring

Hence, the practice of taking a natural piece of opal that may be too thin to use as a solid opal, and setting it onto a black potch or boulder ironstone backing, thus giving the appearance of a top quality black opal at a very affordable price.

You see, with opal, you can get a stone like this and if someone asks you is it a REAL opal, you can honestly say YES. Whereas with synthetic diamond, sapphire, or emerald, the stone is either real or fake.


Blue Opal rings

While red is the most expensive color in opal, it must be kept in mind that this stone covers the whole gamut of the color spectrum because, depending on the size of the microscopic spheres that were discovered with the help of the electron microscope, these amazing gems can draw out every imaginable color from the white light that hits its surface.

In recent years, blue opal has become increasingly difficult to find and because this color is very popular, blue opal rings are not always easy to obtain. More often of course blue and green complement each other. If the description is blue-green, it means that the stone is more blue than green and if its green-blue, the opposite is the case.

White opal ring

Loose crystal opal free form with orange and green features

Crystal opal from Coober Pedy field

Traditionally, all or at least most opals were white or pale in appearance. It was not until black opals and boulder opals were discovered in Lightning Ridge and Western Queensland, Australia that the world was introduced to a new more striking gem.

These types of stones were discovered with black potch and dark brown ironstone on the back and when they found their way into the circles of influential people in the United Kingdom such as Queen Victoria their value climbed to the point that during the 190’s when the Japanese started to buy them, opal miners were vying with one another for ownership of the gems.

White opal rings are still in demand today because a lot of people prefer the more delicate subtle colors of this gem than the more expensive dark contrasting appearance of the black and boulder opal.

Australian Opal Jewellery

Australian opal jewellery is world famous.

Australian opal jewellery is world famous for the following reasons. Well, we are not saying that in some way it’s  somehow different or more creative than jewellery from any other country. But what we ARE saying is when jewellers feature that amazing gemstone OPAL in their designs, something really special starts to happen.

opal pendant set in sterling silver gold finish showing brilliant reds and greens

opal pendant from coober pedy field

You see, the world has been accustomed to a particular “look” in stone set jewelry (jewellery-English spelling), and that ‘look’ is often centered around popular faceted gems such as diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. Of course there are many other non faceted stones (called cabochons, or dome shaped stones) As a rule, gemstones which are not transparent or translucent are cut with a domed top because they are opaque and dont rely on the deflection and diffraction of light to produce a sparkle, apart perhaps from opaque red rubies and sapphires which sometimes feature a light reflection like a ‘star.’  Hence the term ‘star sapphires’ or ‘star rubies.’  There are of course shell based gemstones called ‘ammonites‘ which in some way are reminiscent of the opal change of color.

Unique Opal Gems

Australian opal (and for that matter, opal from wherever it is found internationally) is totally unique in the world of gemstones. Some opals of course are opaque like other cabochon gems. Notably Coober Pedy milk or white opal which does have a beautiful change of color but it is mainly on the surface of the stone. However Crystal opal (named for its appearance rather than its technical i.d.) can be slightly translucent, allowing the eye to look deep into the gem and be tantalized by colors that come and go and change from one color to another as the stone is rotated.

Summary of Australian Opal Jewelry

  • opal can be any color
  • opal can change from one color to another as its rotated
  • Most opals are Obviously different from one another

What do we mean by ‘unique?’

Some opals are similar to others but none are exactly the same and if you add black and boulder opals into the equation, the exclusivity of these gemstones expands into another realm which the images on opalmine.com well illustrate.

Please feel free to add your comments regarding Australian opal to the blog below