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The Fascinating History Of The Black Opal

The Fascinating History Of The Black Opal

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The Fascinating History Of The Black Opal

Opals are one of the most popular gemstones in the world.  The most interesting variety of these gems  is the black opal.  The black opal is considered the Official Gem of Australia. In 2008 it was officiated for New Wales as their representative stone!

Where Is Black Opal Found?

It is possible that this stone can be found elsewhere, but the simple fact remains:  Australia is one of the most common places to find a black opal - over 97% of the opals in the world were found in or mined in Australia.  In fact, one of the most popular places to find opals is at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales.  Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of these opals were found there.

Are Black Opals Completely Black?

Contrary to the term black opal, these types of opals are actually NOT all black!  The black of this stone refers to its dark body tone.  It can range anywhere from dark grey to an even jet black.  These stones also have other colors in the body which consist of a spectrum of colors - even rainbow colors.  The blackness of the opal is caused by trace elements such as oxide and carbon.

Because of the black body, the colors that are present on a black opal will essentially represent the value of the gem.  The blacker the body, the easier it is to see its vibrant colors, which adds to a higher value.

How Much Are Black Opals By The Carat?

The value of a black opal is based on the cut of the stone, the body color, and the spectrum colors.  If you find a top range gem in the black opal family you could be looking at upwards to $11,000 per carat.

Famous Black Opals In History

Many times when you hear about famous gems, you hear about rubies and diamonds.  But, the opal also has quite a few famous pieces:

- Halley's Comet Opal:  This is one of the worlds largest black opals and is uncut!  It weighs 1,982.5 carats.

- The Fire of Australia:  This gem is considered the very first opal in existence and is also uncut.  The Fire of Australia was sold to the South Australian Museum for $500,000.

- Galaxy Opal:  This is a HUGE opal!  It's recognized in the Guinness Book Of World Records as being the world's largest polished opal and weighs in at 3,749 carats.

- Andamooka Opal aka The Queens Opal.  This gem was given to Queen Elizabeth II in 1954.  It only weighs 203 carats, but it's said to be one of the most beautiful opals because it displays reds, greens, and blues.

- Flame Queen Opal: This is one of the most famous of the opals in the world just because of how it looks.  It has an almost eye-like appearance.  The outermost part of the opal is like a rim that dips down into a cavity.  The Flame Queen Opal weighs around 260 carats and is the most popular of ALL eye-of-opals.  Pictures just don't do this one justice!

- Black Prince Opal: Lastly, but definitely not least, you also have the famous Black Prince Opal - originally known as the Harlequin Prince.  This gem was found in 1915 and weighs in at 181 carats.

 Black opals are anything but boring!

If you're in the market for a new piece of jewelry that contains a black opal or you're interested in selling jewelry,  visit Ralph Mueller & Associates or call 480.949.9229.