Opal Rings

Opal Rings

Opal Rings
a stunning drop shaped boulder opal in silver

Opal Rings are much different from other types of rings in that there are so many varieties of opals and hence a wide selection of preferences. Like opals, all of us have different personalities. Different likes and dislikes.

Most girls for example just love jewelry but I know some who wouldn’t bother about it at all. That’s the wonderful thing about humans. There is an endless variety of people.

But what is it about opal and hence opal rings that make them unique. Well, the best way to answer that question is to focus on other gemstone rings that are very popular and perhaps better known than opal.

Diamonds, of course, come to mind immediately, and the promoters of this popular stone have done such a good advertising job, with the backing of film stars, movies, and posh magazines that in the minds of many girls, the ultimate piece of jewelry would be a diamond ring.

Opal Rings
Boulder opal free form with diamonds

Hence engagement and wedding commitments are often associated with diamonds. And yet this was not always the case in old times and in modern times. For example, in a relatively modern sense, people like Prince Charles in the United Kingdom gave Princess Diane a large blue sapphire ring surrounded with small diamonds which of course looked stunning.

Even so, unless you are a diamond or colored stone expert, to most folks all diamonds look the same apart from their settings and the metal chosen, whether white or yellow gold. Same applies to sapphires, rubies, emeralds, garnets, and other faceted type gems.

Of course, if a ruby is redder, a sapphire is bluer, or an emerald is greener, you can generally tell the difference but even so, I venture to say that most folks wouldn’t really know the difference.

Opal Rings, however, stand out as different. Not just because they are usually cut with a dome rather than facets, but the variety of them as aforesaid is endless. Here are some examples:

Crystal Opal Rings

Opal Rings
Snake style crystal opal in 18k gold
Opal Rings
a cluster of round crystal opals

Opal Rings were given that name, not because they have a crystalline structure but rather that when they were first discovered the original miners didn’t know what to call them because some of them were completely translucent (see-through) with just flashes of color, and others were slightly translucent.

Still others were opaque. But all of them were lighter in color and like crystal could be “looked into” rather than just surface or opaque. Hence the term ‘crystal opal’ rings. Note the variety. Even in this category, you have three or four distinct subcategories along with an endless selection of colors and patterns

Black Opal Rings

Opal Rings
Black opal in yellow gold with diamond

Opal rings made from black opal are a completely different story. When they were first discovered, again they didn’t know how to describe them but noticing that the opal color appeared naturally with a dark or black base of what is called ‘opal potch’, resulting in the foreground of the stone being darker and more striking than its more delicately featured sister, crystal opal.

The same thing as has already been mentioned applies to black opal. There is an endless variety of colors and patterns and, added to this, variations in depth of color depending on what shade of grey into black is in the background of the stone

Boulder Opal Rings

Opal Rings
Boulder Opal Matrix in silver with ruby and diamond

Opal rings featuring boulder opal open up a completely different ballpark altogether.

Here we have a stone similar to black opal because the color comes from veins resting on solid boulder ironstone instead of black potch, giving the same effect as black opal but (interestingly) often brighter than black opal because the opal surface is generally much thinner and the thinner it is the brighter it often becomes. Boulder opal makes fascinating opal rings.

opal rings
Side view of boulder opal ring showing ironstone and color
opal rings
Boulder opal rectangle with diamonds
opal rings
‘Yowah’ nut boulder opal in gold

Add to this the interesting fact that boulder opal color is often mixed in the surface with all sorts of other patterns from the mother ironstone along with other particles that nature put there that presents fascinating pictures and shapes that just mesmerize you.

Some people prefer to just see the color of the opal itself, but more and more people who focus on getting back to nature, just love the natural look of the boulder and the uniqueness of these pieces.

Doublet and Triplet Opal Rings

Opal Rings
doublet opal with four c.z. crystals
Opal Rings
dominant red opal triplet in silver

Doublets and Triplets are opals that the cutter makes use of thinner pieces of rough by setting them onto either black potch or boulder ironstone, thus creating the same effect as black and boulder opal but often at a far reduced price.

This means that just about anyone can afford to own an opal ring because the stone is still a natural opal that has been manufactured so that it can be set safely with a protective shield, in the case of opal triplets.

Hydrophane Opal

A word of caution in buying opal rings. In recent years quite a lot of this type of opal has been found in wetter areas of the globe and thought the opal can be very beautiful, is very porous and if it comes in contact with water, it will soak up the moisture and take away the color, leaving the stone a murky brown.

This is totally disappointing and even though it is claimed that you can bring the color back by putting it in the sun or a hot light, it’s not worth the risk as sometimes it has to be cleaned with acetone and this is a job for a specialist. It’s best to buy only from Australia because the opals come from a hot and dry climate and the opal is guaranteed not to fade.