Beautiful Australian Opals

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About Opal
Getting Started
Base Color
Consistency and Directionality
Cut, Inclusions and Weight
Fire Color
Doublets and Tripletts
Fire Pattern
Glossay of Terms
Natural, Synthetic, Etc
Myths and Legends
Opal Books
Opal Care
Opal Evaluation
Opal Pricing
Some Large and Famous Opals
Types of Opals

Brightness of Color

The brightness of the fire coming out of an opal is one of the most important contributors to its beauty and value. It is also the most difficult characteristic to judge consistently. One reason for this is that people cannot keep the degree of brightness of a stone accurately in their mind over time. There is a tendency to elevate the brightness of the stone the person is currently examining relative to others seen previously. The other reason is that brilliance is seriously affected by the light under which the opal is viewed. This is why some opal sellers use those little high power lamps. They make an opal appear brighter than it would appear in natural sunlight , thus giving the impression that the stone is of greater brightness that it is, implying it has a greater market value. Remember, brightness is the amount of light coming back from the opal and moving the opal away from the light gives you an idea of how well the brightness holds as lighting changes.

Brightness Table

Brightness Level
Shows play of color only under direct sunlight and even then the fire is faint.
Shows some color under low light but even under indirect sunlight or the grading lamp the fire is dull.
Shows fair color under low light and very nice fire under indirect sunlight or the grading lamp.
Very Bright
Shows good color under low light and sharp crisp color under indirect sunlight or the grading lamp.
Shows exceptionally bright crisp color under indirect sunlight or the grading lamp and often shows even brighter in subdued light.
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