Is Opal An Expensive Stone?

By | April 5, 2024

Navigating the world of precious stones can be quite the adventure. Let’s talk about opals, a gemstone known for its unique iridescent play-of-color. This captivating stone, filled with a kaleidoscope of hues, is a beloved choice for jewelry. But is it expensive? That’s an excellent question and one that needs a comprehensive answer. Brace yourself as this piece offers an insightful look into the world of this iconic stone, discussing its valuation and what you need to consider when buying.

Is Opal An Expensive Stone?

Learn more about the Is Opal An Expensive Stone? here.

Brief Overview of Opal

Let’s dive into the captivating world of opals right away! Starting off, it’s important to define exactly what an opal is.

Definition of opal

An opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica, which classifies it as a mineraloid. This precious gem is celebrated for its vibrant play-of-color, which is characterized by shifting flashes of iridescent hues, especially when seen from different angles.

Types of opal

Opals have a wide variety owing to their diverse formations in different geological conditions. Some common types include Black Opal, Boulder Opal, Crystal Opal, and White Opal. Each type exhibits unique visual traits and, consequently, varying value in the marketplace.

Properties of opal

Opal possesses several properties that set it apart from other gemstones. Firstly, it’s the only gem to showcase a full spectrum of colors. Secondly, each opal is one-of-a-kind; every single one has a distinct pattern and color play. The opal’s beauty is further enhanced by its property of diffracting light, enabling it to emit flashes of rainbow colors, a phenomenon known as play-of-color.

Factors Determining the Price of Opal

Next, you might be wondering, “What makes opals expensive?” Let’s take a look at the variables impacting the opal’s market value.

Rarity of the opal

Similar to other precious stones, the opal’s rarity has a direct effect on its price. The rarer the opal type, like Black or Boulder opal, the higher the price.

Size of the opal

The size of an opal plays a significant part in its pricing. Larger opals, particularly those with pronounced play-of-color, bring higher prices.

Color play in the opal

The intensity, distribution, and diversity of colors within an opal greatly influence its worth. Opals displaying a full spectrum of bright colors, especially red, command higher prices.

Quality of the opal

Finally, the quality of an opal is a deciding factor in its pricing. This includes aspects like clarity, pattern, symmetry, and absence of flaws like cracks.

YouTube video

Learn more about the Is Opal An Expensive Stone? here.

Cost of Opal Per Carat

The cost per carat of opal varies based on a multitude of factors.

Price range of opal per carat

Prices range broadly, from less expensive common opals (a few dollars per carat) to premium black or fire opals which can command several thousand dollars per carat.

Factors affecting cost per carat

Factors influencing the cost per carat include an opal’s type, color, size, and quality, along with its rarity and market demand.

Comparison of Opal Prices with Other Gemstones

Even though opal is a precious stone, how does its price stack up against other gems?

Comparison with diamond

While high-quality opals may reach similar price-per-carat levels as diamonds, generally, diamonds are more expensive. Most opals are more affordable on a carat-for-carat basis compared to diamonds.

Comparison with ruby

Just like with diamonds, fine-quality opals can match up to the per-carat prices of rubies. However, most opals are priced lower than rubies.

Comparison with sapphire

Compared to sapphires, opals hold their own with premium specimens fetching similar prices. Nonetheless, many attractive opals are available at a lower price point than sapphires.

Is Opal An Expensive Stone?

Affordability of Opal

Opals are generally more affordable than diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, but why is that, and who can afford them?

Why opal may be more affordable

Opals might be more affordable due to their softer nature and lower durability compared to other gems. Also, while high-quality and rare opals are precious, common opals are relatively abundant, which influences the market price.

Who can afford opal

The wide price range of opals makes them accessible to a broad spectrum of buyers— from those on a budget to avid collectors and connoisseurs willing to invest in valuable specimens.

Highest-Priced Opal Gems

Now let’s peek at some of the most expensive opal gems ever discovered.

Olympic Australis opal

The Olympic Australis opal, discovered in Australia, is considered one of the largest and most valuable opals in the world, weighing an immense 17,000 carats!

Fire of Australia opal

The Fire of Australia opal, also originated from Australia, is another incredibly valuable gem, with its brilliant colors and exceptional size.

Andamooka opal

The Queen’s opal or Andamooka opal, presented to Queen Elizabeth II, is also one of the most precious opals, revered for its fabulous color play.

Lowest-Priced Opal Types

On the other end of the spectrum, let’s look at the types of opals that are more wallet-friendly.

Common opal

Common opals, also known as potch opals, lack the play-of-color and are abundantly available, making them the least expensive type of opal.

Hydrophane opal

Hydrophane opal, which can absorb water and temporarily increase in weight, is also generally inexpensive.

Potch opal

Potch opal, a common term for any opal without color play, falls into the lower price range.

How to Choose an Opal Based on Budget

Choosing an opal based on your budget is a fairly straightforward process.

Choosing the right type of opal

Consider your budget and then pick the right type of opal. If you have a tight budget, go for common opals or Hydrophane opals. If budget is not a constraint, consider Black Opals or Boulder Opals.

Choosing the right size

Smaller opals with great play-of-color can be more affordable and just as impressive. Focus more on the colors and patterns rather than the size.

Selecting the best quality within a certain price range

Quality matters the most. Always go for the best quality opal within your price range.

How to Take Care of Opal Jewelry

Taking care of your opal jewelry properly can prolong its life.

Cleaning opal jewelry

Use warm water, mild detergent, and a soft brush to clean your opal jewelry. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners that might cause damage.

Storing opal jewelry

Opals should be stored in a clean, dry place. They may also be stored in water to prevent them from drying out.

Damage and repair of opal jewelry

Opals are softer and less durable than many other gemstones, so they can be prone to scratches and cracks. If damaged, professional services can often restore them.


Is opal an expensive stone

The question, “Is opal an expensive stone?” doesn’t have a straightforward answer. The cost of an opal varies broadly, with some types fetching thousands of dollars while others cost just a few bucks.

Factors affecting the price of opal

Several factors like rarity, size, color, and overall quality affect the price of opal.

Balancing cost and quality when buying opal

Last but not least, when buying an opal, always aim for the best quality within your budget. Don’t compromise on the quality for a cheaper price. Also, remember to take good care of your opal; with the right care, it will maintain its beauty for a lifetime. So whether you’re an avid gem collector or someone who just appreciates the simple beauty of these rainbow gems, you can find an opal that fits your budget and captures your heart.

Discover more about the Is Opal An Expensive Stone?.

Author: marklsmithms1

Hi, I'm Mark, the author of Maura Gems and Jewellery. As a team of qualified gemmologists and goldsmiths, we bring you world-class jewellery at Bangkok prices. With offices in both Bangkok and the UK, we ethically source the finest gemstones directly, eliminating any middlemen. We offer a wide range of stunning ready-made jewellery items in our new online store, available for retail or wholesale. Additionally, we specialize in custom-made jewellery where we can bring any design to life. Whether you're a trade professional or an individual customer, we cater to all. Feel free to email me at or call/WhatsApp me at 07470547636 or +66949355718. Discover our incredible collection by visiting our online store. I guarantee you'll love what you find there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *