When it comes to shopping for black opals in Greenville, SC, the master jewelers at llyn strong fine art jewelry have you covered. We receive our black opals straight from Lightning Ridge mines in Australia—one of the few places where authentic black opals are mined.
We carry a select number of elegant and exclusive black opal pieces from Australian black opal rings to necklaces. Our partners at Hopkins Opal in Australia supply us with the best black opals in cut and quality from Lightning Ridge mines.
If you’re looking for a black opal in Greenville, SC, you can rest assured that llyn strong has the best in the region.
Black Opals: The Exclusive and Elusive Gemstone
What does the quote above mean? You might be able to guess, but black opals are an extremely rare gemstone. It takes 5 to 6 million years underground for a 1cm opal to mature. Indeed, the earth’s memoirs are written in 6 million years of each opal’s history.
Opals come from Australia. They were originally formed from a giant lake that is now the Australian desert. Many folk tales from the earliest Aboriginal people of Australia about the beauty of opals have been passed down through the years.
Compared to common opals, what gives black opals their value is their rarity. Black opals contain spheres of silica. When light reflects off the gemstone, they radiate a cornucopia of colors: aquamarine blues, vibrant neon greens, and many others.
While silica is one of the most common minerals, it is rarely infused with opals to make the elusive and rare black variety.
How rare are black opals?
Compared to diamonds, fewer black opals are mined each year, making them the rarer gemstones by far. Additionally, finding a black opal in the incandescent harlequin colors that veteran gemologists and gemstone lovers look for is exceedingly rare. With only one major mine supplying the majority of black opals on the market today, it’s no wonder that these gemstones are so widely sought.
At least 95% of all opals discovered by miners are without any color at all. Australian miners refer to these colorless gemstones as “potch.” Potch opals can be white, gray, black, or amber in hue. They are a far cry from the menagerie of color and splendor of the black opal.
At the same time, most of the opals discovered by miners can’t be cut into precious gemstones, as they are too thin and sandy. You need master gem cutters and polishers to transform an unearthed black opal into the gemstone jewelry you’ll find at our store.
How Do You Value a Black Opal
We’ve already discussed the rarity of black opals. Only 5% of opals contain any color at all. But most of these opals can’t be cut and polished because their composition is too thin and sandy. Your chances of finding a true black opal that reflects color from the silica spheres contained inside is an extremely rare occurrence.
Black opals are valued based on a variety of factors. The basic unit of measurement is a carat, which is the same as any other gemstone. Cut and polished black opals that haven’t been designed and set in jewelry are priced by the carat for the most part.
The other factors that gemologists look for in assessing the value of black opals are:
Brightness: Brighter and more vibrant black opals carry a premium.
Color: The most common color of black opals is purple. If these gemstones contain flashes of blue, green, or even gold this increases their value. Black opals with streaks of orange and red are the most rare, and their value is significantly higher than other opals.
Pattern: The color pattern on your black opal plays an important role in their value. When you’re in the market for this gemstone, you may hear jewelers refer to patterns such as “chinese writing” or “pinfire.” If you have questions about black opal patterns, reach out so we can answer any questions you may have.
Body Tone: Body tone refers to the darkness of the opal excluding its color. Black opals with darker body tones are more rare, and therefore, more valuable.
Consistency: If your opal radiates color and brightness from all directions, this too plays a role in their value. Some black opals look great when they are held at a certain angle, but appear dull and colorless from other positions.
Other variables such as imperfections like sand showing on the face of your black opal determines their value—similar to other precious gemstones.
Finally, personal preference is important when it comes to the value of black opals. Whether you prefer a Picasso to a Renoir is a matter of taste. When it comes to black opals and other precious gemstones, you should also think about what you want to wear and own.
Your Greenville, SC Black Opal Experts
The expert gemologists and jewelry designers at llyn strong appreciate the rarity and beauty of black opals. Our handcrafted, artisanal jewelry pieces featuring black opals are designed to bring out the brilliance and radiance of these precious gemstones.
For the best black opal and precious gemstone jewelry in Greenville, South Carolina, we invite you to visit our store or explore our online catalog.