Opal is Australia’s national gemstone. Renowned as the finest in the world, Australia produces 95% of all gem quality opals, which are ethically sourced from remote opal field locations across the country including Coober Pedy in South Australia, Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, and Western Queensland.
There are several different types of Australian opal, each displaying a unique, colourful pattern such as the extremely rare and valuable Harlequin, broad flash, Chinese writing, floral, mackerel, pinfire, ribbon and chaff, among others.
Read more about Australian opal in our handy guide below.
Found mainly at the opal fields of Lightning Ridge, NSW, Black Opal is the most magnificent and valuable type of Australian opal. Ablaze with vibrant colour, this high quality gemstone is extremely rare and can be distinguished by the darkness of its background body tone or body colour, which ranges from dark grey to jet black.
White or Light Opal
First mined at White Cliffs, NSW, today White or Light Opal mainly comes from Coober Pedy and Mintabie in South Australia. Stones range from transparent to nearly opaque, and feature a rainbow of brilliant colours set against a pale light or white body tone or background. This type of opal is also known as ‘milky’ opal, and is the most common type of opal found in Australia.
A Crystal Opal is identified when light can pass, or you can see, through its body, which can be anywhere from transparent to translucent in nature. Ranging from light to black in body tone, this type of opal has vibrant colour found deep within the gemstone. Crystal opals are found in South Australia and New South Wales.
Mined predominantly in the Western Queensland opal fields of Quilpie and Winton, Boulder Opal looks similar to, and displays the same vibrant colour as, black opal, but forms naturally in brown ironstone rock. When a boulder opal is cut, a layer of the host rock remains on the back of the stone. Unlike other opal which can feature a domed, or cabochoned, surface, boulder opal is almost always cut with a flat or undulating face.
Doublets & Triplets
Doublet and Triplet Opals are composite stones that contain a thin slice of colourful, natural opal. Doublet opals are set against a layer of dark potch, while triplet opals also feature a clear domed quartz crystal cap. Doublet and triplet opals can be an affordable alternative to purchasing a solid black opal.
Formed in a similar way to other fossils, Opalised Fossils are created when plant or animal material are preserved in rock as silica, which opal is a hydrated amorphous form of. These beautiful and colourful fossils include opalised bones of dinosaurs, marine life such as molluscs, bony fish, freshwater crayfish, frogs and turtles, and plant material like pine cones, stems and seeds.