Opals are some of the most beautiful gemstones that are found all over the world. The bright colors and shimmers produced by opals make them extremely attractive to look at. High-quality opal gemstone may fetch as high a price as diamonds and rubies.
While they only have a hardness of about 5.5 or 6 on the Mohs scale, they are often a popular choice when it comes to the making of jewelry items. One of the major characteristics of opal stone is the play of colors which give their distinct looks.
This is a unique phenomenon and it happens due to the diffraction of the white light caused by the microscopic spheres of silica that are arranged in an order.
This internal structure of the opals leads to the diffraction of light and based on the conditions under which these stones where formed, the diffraction can take on numerous color variations.
The opals are some of the most widely used semi-precious stones, and they have been regarded with great reverence over a long time.
There are many different types of opals that have been found over the years. These variations occur due to the varying conditions in which they are made.
If you are looking to buy opals, you must have the detailed gem information you need in order to select the best products. Here is a list of gemstone names of opals that show the different types of opals found in nature.
Black Opal Gemstone
Black Opal stones are some of the most precious opals that are produced in Lightning Ridge. It is rather difficult to find high-quality opal stones.
Even though the stones are called black opal, they are not exactly completely black. These stones actually have a dark body when compared to the white opals and can be opal gemstone identification rather easily.
White Opal Gemstone
White opals are stones that have a medium gray or colorless base tone. They are also frequently referred to as light opals.
While the term white opal is used extensively, it is important to remember that all these stones are not exactly white.
Ideally the term white opal should be used only for stones that have a milky coloration.
The white opals are more frequently found than the black opals. Good quality white opals are known for their startling beauty and color.
The fire opal stones may appear as translucent or transparent and may have distinct variations of colors ranging from red and orange to yellow.
Even though these stones typically do not exhibit any kind of color play, some stones may exhibit flashes of bright green hues.
It is important to note that the term fire opal is not used commonly in Australia. Querétaro in Mexico is the most notable source of these opals.
The opals raised here are known as Mexican fire opals. The fire opals not showing the kind of play of color hues are occasionally called jelly opals.
The Mexican opals can be sometimes cut in the ryholitic host material in case they are extremely hard and cannot be easily cut or polished.
Such Mexican fire opals are called Canter an opal. The Mexican water opal has been yet another variant of opal that is found in Mexico. It is a form of colorless opal that sometimes exhibits a golden or bluish inner sheen.
Boulder opals are a type of opal where the host rock has been forming naturally over the years along with the gem itself.
In some cases, only a small layer of opal can be found. The stone is mainly found in certain parts of Western Queensland.
They are mostly spotted in the cracks, in-fillings, and voids in the rock. They can also be found in the ironstone boulders.
The color of these opals can be light or black depending on how they are viewed. These opals have an inclination to cleave and in such cases two distinct faces of opals are produced with a nice polished surface.
Hyalite, also known as Mullers Glass can be described as a type of colorless opal that looks like glass. In some cases, it shows a faint tint of green, blue or yellow.
They are sometimes known as water opals, especially when they are gathered from Mexico. Oregon and Mexico are the two most important sources of Hyalite.
Girasol opal is yet another variant of Hyalite which is identified by its characteristic bluish glow.
Matrix opal is a term that is commonly used to describe opals that are diffused intimately as in fillings of holes or pores between the grains in a host rock.
Superior quality boulder matrix opals can be spotted in Queensland. Their characteristic features can make them easily distinguishable from ironstone host rocks.
Another type of opal called Andamooka matrix opal can be found in Andamooka, South Australia and it is a type of porous material.