Individual opals can vary widely in appearance and quality. As diverse as snowflakes or fingerprints, each gem can differ noticeably.
FIND A JEWELER
Submit your gemstone through your local jeweler.
FIND A REPORT
Verify the information on your report matches what is archived in the GIA report database.
What To Look For
There are three main aspects of an opal’s quality. Color refers to background color and play-of-color. Pattern is arrangement of play-of-color. Clarity means transparency and quantity of inclusions. Play-of-color might be the most spectacular aspect of an opal’s appearance.
Opal Quality Factors: The Comprehensive Guide
Tips & Advice
1. Find a jeweler who carries a wide variety of opal.
Commercial-quality white opal is affordable and available in almost any jewelry store. But before you decide what kind of opal you’d like to own, be sure to see some high quality unusual opals with dramatic play-of-color too.
2. Consider a doublet or triplet.
If you prefer the look of black opal or boulder opal but it doesn’t fit your budget, you also have the option of an opal doublet or triplet.
3. Don’t expose an opal to extreme light, heat, or dryness.
Opal has high water content. Although most opal is cured to make sure it won’t crack, it’s never a good idea to subject your opal to very dry or hot conditions.
4. The best pattern is the one you like best.
Buying fine opal is a bit like buying art. Every pattern of play-of-color is different; some bold, others delicate, some symmetrical, others dynamic. There is no wrong or right, so choose what appeals to you.