What is an Opal? (And Why it May Make the Perfect Ring)

What is an Opal? (And Why it May Make the Perfect Ring)


The current trend for jewelry is gemstones and crystals. All varieties are taking center stage as earrings, necklaces, and rings. But one gemstone that has become particularly popular is the opal.

What is an opal, and why would it make the perfect ring? This quick guide will walk you through the different types of opals and why you should consider opal jewelry over other gemstones.

What is an Opal?

Opals are gemstones made from a non-crystalline form of mineral silica. Their crystalline structure is closely related to quartz and agate. Differing from gemstones that form from naturally faceted crystals, opal forms from amorphous lumps of silica.

The silica creates microscopic spheres throughout the opal. Rarer opals have spheres that are uniform in size and shape, though only 5% of opals meet these criteria. These opals have multi-colored flashes and vibrant colors.

Most opal that's available is between 65 million to 145 million years old. You can find this gemstone near the earth's surface where there were once ancient geothermal hot springs.

Opals are commonly found in Southern Australia, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Nevada. They have a special history and lore that make them as mysterious as they are beautiful.

Opal Types

While most people probably think of an opal as just a sparkling white gem with a rainbow sheen, there are actually several different types of opals available. Here are the most popular types.

Black Opals

This type is the most prized of all opals. They appear black or dark blue, and have a vivid play of color.

Jelly Opals

Also called water opals, these gemstones have a semi-translucent hue. However, this variety doesn't have bright flashes of color.

Crystal Opals

Ranging from transparent to semi-transparent, crystal opals are the second most valuable type. This style has rainbows floating through the gemstone.

Fire Opals

This much-desired type has brilliant red, orange, or yellow hues. The most valuable fire opals are a fiery red with uniform color and no milkiness.

White Opals

These are the most common opals, making up the bulk of commercial sales. They appear translucent with milky white, gray, or pale-yellow sheens. White opals should have a distinct pattern of color to be top-quality.

Boulder Opals

This variety has ironstone or sandstone still surrounding or attached to the gem. The presence of the host rock reinforces the opal, despite being very thin. It also darkens the background and adds even more colors to the opal. 

Why You Should Get an Opal Ring

These unique stones make great jewelry, but especially lovely rings. Gorgeous and sparkly, these are one of the top five most popular stones for engagement rings. There's no substitute for that signature rainbow sheen.

If you're looking for an engagement ring that mixes classic appeal with unique sparkle, opal is the perfect stone. Opals are also great for a stunning everyday ring. They stand out from the crowd and break tradition in a beautiful, gentle way.

Opal is the New Diamond

Gemstone rings, especially engagement rings, have become more popular in recent years. With their unique beauty and a variety of styles, it's not hard to see why more couples are considering opals to tell their love story.

So, what is an opal? It's a unique gemstone that offers one-of-a-kind beauty. Traditionally, opals carry an air of mystery. But now that they're being embraced, they represent love, passion, and hope.

Looking for a ring that stands out from the crowd? You've come to the right place. Check out our lovely selection of unique gemstone rings. We'd love to help you design a custom piece perfect for you, or a special person in your life.