Back to gem encyclopedia

Opal

Fireworks. Jellyfish. Galaxies. Lightning. Opal’s shifting play of kaleidoscopic colors is unlike any other gem.

Responsive image
Cabochon

Most opals are cut as cabochons; this one from Ethiopia weighs 20.86 ct.

Responsive image
Unique Beauty

The play-of-color displays the entire spectrum over a light gray background.

Responsive image
Pattern

Bright flashes of color skip across this stone’s surface.

Responsive image
Responsive image
Hidden Beauty

Opal forms as irregular nodules or seams in volcanic or sedimentary rocks.

Responsive image
Rare Phenomena

Play-of-color results when light interacts with orderly stacks of spheres.

Responsive image
Treasure

This opal nodule displays the promise of intense play-of-color.

Responsive image
Tools

Research

Boulder opal with layer of lepidocrocite inclusions
Lepidocrocite in Boulder Opal

A boulder opal contained an unusual carpet of needle-like lepidocrocite inclusions along the interface between the opal and the ironstone matrix.

Read More

A bright orange, multi-faceted gem.
Article
Fall for Autumn Gems

Nature gives us a brilliant palette of color-changing leaves and a spectacular kaleidoscope of colorful sunsets during the fall season.

Read More

Bursts of yellow and purple radiate throughout this round cut amertrine.
Article
Colorblocking: The Art and Fashion of Multicolor Gemstones

The fashion trend of colorblocking can be found in the artistic combinations of color in multicolor gemstones known for their color zoning or banding.

Read More

A view from behind of a bejeweled winged insect.
Article
A Glittering Garden: A Menagerie of Designs from Mother Nature

Delightful garden creatures and flowers are favorite subjects that transform beautifully into Victorian, Art Nouveau and modern jewelry designs.

Read More

Mexican fire opal with good claritiy
Outlook on Opals from Mexico and Australia

Jürgen Schütz discussed the opal sourcing and cutting activities of the German firm Emil Weis.

Read More

Indonesian opal cabochons, 6.94 and 3.79 ct.
Opal from West Java, Indonesia

Description of Indonesian opal reportedly from West Java.

Read More

Flora and fauna brooches by Paula Crevoshay
Preview of Nature Art Science with Paula Crevoshay

Renowned designer Paula Crevoshay discusses artistic influences and her latest creations.

Read More

These two opals were represented as natural-color blue and pink opal from Mexico.
Update on Dyed Hydrophane Opal

Opal purportedly from a new deposit is found to be dyed.

Read More

Precious opals with unusual bodycolor.
Unusual Bodycolors of Precious Opal

Two stones with unusual bodycolor are identified as precious opal.

Read More

Front and back views of brown dyed precious opal.
Ethiopian Precious Opal with a Dyed Brown Bodycolor

An opal from Ethiopia with a natural-looking bodycolor is found to be dyed.

Read More