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

Cut, Inclusions, Cracks and Weight

A well cut stone adds to the value of the opal. The stone should be well proportioned. A high dome is nice but not necessary. Excessively fat stones should be faulted if they make the opal less attractive. A poorly polished surface reduces the ability of light to enter and leave the opal, thus reducing brightness and value. Inclusions which are visible on the top of the stone and which detract from the beauty of the opal reduce value, but inclusions on the back usually do not affect value.

Cracked or crazes stones are seriously flawed. Opinions vary about their market value, but most opal dealers consider such stones valuable only as specimens. They are not considered to be of a quality to use in jewelry and thus have a very low value relative to a solid stone with the same characteristics.

This is really simple. Weight is in carats. Small stones of less than one carat are less valuable per carat and large stones of more than 40 carats are also lower in value.

Boulder opals sell by the piece instead of by weight. The value of a boulder opal is determined by the size and quality of its opal face, not its weight. In boulder opals, size is judged by the area of the opal face on the stone. They are classed as small, medium, large and very large.

There are a few dealers who sell boulder opals by weight. If you need to estimate the weight of a boulder opal, you will have a difficult task. Ironstone is heavy. More importantly, the weight of a stone of a given size varies significantly with the density of the ironstone and the amount of it relative to the opal. This is why boulder opals are usually sold by the piece.

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