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TOPICS INCLUDE.......................


"BLACK OPAL" also called/known as "RIDGE OPAL".

CATEGORIZED BY:... The dark body of the host stone (what the actual "colour" of opal sits upon)... This is actually Opal as well. If the black Opal (with no colour) was found and then cut/polished (with no colour), it would be near worthless. Thats Right! Black Opal (with no colour) is very close to worthless.
The reason for this is: Black Opal is Common. And, is found in great quantities. Along with White and Grey Opal. It is one of the most common colours found in Lightning Ridge.
When you buy a "Black Opal", your not actually paying for the "Black Opal" itself. What your paying for is, The Colour that sits upon the "Black Opal".
Please Note... Any Colour that sits upon Black Opal... Does not decrease the value of Opal... The Black base enhances the colour. Making the Colour more brighter and visible to see. This is why you pay more for Ridge Opal, if it has a Black base... compared to a White base (which actually makes the colour more pale). What would you rather have? A very bright Opal... or a very dull Opal.
Ridge Opal is Easy to cut and polish. Because, your cutting mostly Opal.

RISK 1: If buying ROUGH BLACK (or BOULDER) Opal, it is important to know for sure what area of Lightning Ridge it came from. Some areas produce very stable Opal... While some areas produce unstable Opal...
What makes an Opal stable/unstable? Well. Some Opal cracks over time, once dug out of the ground. After being released from the enormous pressures, and leaving the moist ground (deep in the ground, up to 100ft deep at times), the opal then basically becomes brittle or "cracky"...
(example...If you had some dirt in your hands. Cupped shape. Then add a little water to it... Then compress the dirt with your hands. You would then have very stable material, and compressed dirt. But, as soon as it dries out... And you release the pressure of your hands... The dirt would then be unstable. This is how Lightning Ridge Opal can sometimes be).
Because, Outback Australia is a harsh and dry land most of the times... Once some Opal leaves its moist compressed environment, it just suddenly becomes dry and brittle.
Please Note... Not all Lightning Ridge Opal is unstable. Most of the Opal from Lightning Ridge is stable. I am simply explaining to you "What to look out for", when Buying Opal of any sort.
Ask the seller what area of Ridge the Opal was mined. And, how long has it been out of the ground for. A good time for Opal deemed stable, is at least 1 week.
Please Note... Some Opal may take a month or so to be deemed "stable"

RISK 2: If buying ROUGH or POLISHED BLACK Opal (or BOULDER) stones. Some Opal also unfortunately has growths. Like a fungus (example... Like people getting "athletes foot").
It can start with a little Grey/White spot and suddenly in a month or years time... Completely take over the whole stone. Leaving a webbing (like a spiders web). Or in worst case scenario... Cover the whole Opal with a Grey/White Colour.
Signs to look out for... is a out of place Grey/White Spot on the stone somewhere. Avoid these types of Opal at all costs. Its better to be safe than sorry. Thankfully, most of the times, the fungus can be detectable. So don't panic. Ask the Seller, if they Refund such Opals (with fungus appearing after a sale has been taken place... could be 2 months away).
Please Note... It is unheard of, that any Opal that was first cleared of any fungus, then in a years time, would suddenly have a spider/fungus Grey/White growth. Please do not panic. If you have an Opal for a long time... Your Opal will not (that us Opal experts know of) suddenly have a fungus spider webbing. The reason we know this... Like most fungi (fungus), they seem to love the cold, moist and dark areas of the ground. Most fungus problems for Humans have been contracted  from  something  that was on (or touched) the ground. The same can be said for all Opal Types (including Boulder Opal).

"BOULDER OPAL" Which the name suggests... Is Opal, found in Ironstone. or, a dense Sandstone (not like the sand on a beach) Boulders. Sometimes the size of small cars. And, can weigh 100's of pounds (100's of Kilograms).  Also, can include the "KOROIT" and "YOWAH" Opal. Which are names of the fields and area the Opal is found (technically, the later two names, are small palm size Boulders as well).
There is Boulder Opals that also have a "BLACK" base, Known as "Magnesium Base". This is naturally found when dug out of the ground. Sometimes (highly sought after), a "BLACK" naturally occurring  Magnesium Layer is between the "OPAL" and the "IRONSTONE/SANDSTONE"... Do not confuse these types of Highly Valuable Gems with... "DOUBLETS" or "TRIPLETTS". They way the Magnesium bonded with its two Hosts, is easily identifiable. And impossible to replicate (copy).

Ironstone... (not real "Iron"... But, is called this because of its dense and extremely hard structure)
Sandstone... (very similar appearance to "fired"  terracotta pots... another words... it has similar properties and an appearance to clay, that has been "fired" or placed in a "kiln" and "cured")

The Opal sits upon the top of the Boulder stone (very strong bond). The Opal sits/lays on top of the Ironstone/Sandstone Boulder. And the Colour of the Base (naturally, normally and mostly is a dark Brown base). This does not decrease the value of the Opal ROUGH or STONE/POLISHED.
Yes it is true by saying... (like Ridge "Black" common Opal) Ironstone and Sandstone by itself, is considered worthless (it is far more common than "Black" common Opal). But, when there is Opal affixed, or naturally bonded to the surface of the Host stone (the base Ironstone/Sandstone). This is what gives value to Boulder Opal.
Similar... Brightness; Colour; Pattern; Play of Colour... Can be found in both "BLACK" and "BOULDER" OPAL.

The only difference between both "BLACK" and "BOULDER" is...
One has an Opal (common black) base.
While the other has an Ironstone/Sandstone (dark Brown) base.

Both are equally as good as the other.

I will not argue with anyone, about one being better over the other. It is pointless. At the end of the day... You Pay for the OPAL COLOUR you see. Not, "the supposedly colour of opal, that is in the middle of the "Black" common Opal... you can not see this colour".
Some "Black" Opal Ridge sellers might say otherwise, because they want you the Buyer to pick there "Opal" over "Boulder" Opal Sellers.
Do not listen to such nonsense. At the end of the day... They (some of them) just want you "The Buyer" to  buy their (black), and not any other Opal.
Other factors that obviously determine the value of Opal are... The brightness, Weight, Pattern... etc...etc...etc...
Please Note... Do not fall victim to someone who says that Ridge is better than Boulder. or vise versa. Both have there pros and cons.
If Black Opal is sold by the Carat weight... Then so should Boulder Opal.
Some may say... But, the Boulder host stone is not "Opal". Yes, this is true.. It is only dirt (that is very dense and Dark).
But, like I said above... Who in there right mind buys "ANYTHING" that they can not see. Therefor... The "Black" base of "Ridge" is deemed worthless, as is the dense "Boulder base" of "Boulder" Opal is worthless.
All Opal should be priced per Carat. Whether it be "Ridge" or "Boulder" Opal (unless a mutual agreement between... Buyer and Seller has occurred... to sell it by face value).

Experts in all fields of the Jewelery Trade have agreed, that both "Boulder Opal" and "Ridge Opal" are equally as... Dark; Bright; Pattern; Colour; etc etc etc. and Valuable.

Remember... Once the Opal is set in Jewelery. You only see the Face (top) of the Opal.
Another words... You never see the "Black" or "Boulder" base.

So... Do you understand, what I (and many others) say. That Boulder Opal and Lightning Ridge "Black" Opal is as good as each other.

If anything... All the Opal in the World is extremely underpriced. Opal is the most RAREST GEMSTONE. And yes... More RARER THAN DIAMONDS (and its related family of gemstones).
There is less true "OPAL GEMSTONES" than any other gemstones.

RISK 1: If buying ROUGH/POLISHED STONES of Boulder Opal... It has the exact same RISKS as buying Lightning Ridge Opal. Watch out for "Young" Opal (that has not been long since the Boulder has been dug out of the ground). And, Webbing "Fungus" Spider.
Both "Black Opal" and "Boulder Opal" are susceptible to the same  FLAWS and WARNINGS and DANGERS.
Please READ the "BLACK OPAL" description above... Under "RISK".

"PRICE OF OPAL" Please Note...there is no set standard of price for any Opal (technically).
Please Note... You (the consumer) are actually responsible for the price/value of Opal at any given day.
Example... If I had a "10ct Red on Black (Boulder Magnesium)" with everything possibly good, going good for it. And, Yesterday I sold it for AU$10,000.
This would tell me, the following day, after that initial sale... I could try and sell it (ask for) AU$10,000 as well.
Opal value is usually determined in this way.
Please Note... It is not the sellers who determine the Value/Price of Opal... It is the Consumer, who buys it.
So... When you see an Opal for sale. And you start thinking "that is outrageous" or "it is over priced"... Be aware, that most likely... A Buyer paid that price for a similar Opal, a day before (as an example).

COLOUR: You may have noticed that there is huge (variable) difference in price, when it comes to the actual colour of Opal, for what is visible (on top of the host stone).
This has nothing to do with "RED" being the most popular... or, "GREEN" is the least popular.
The reason for this...
Prices for Opal Colour is distinguished, and valued by rarity. Another words... Whatever is the most rarest colour of Opal ever found, is ultimately (obviously) the most expensive. The same can be said for the most commonly found Colour of Opal, which is obviously the cheapest to buy.
It makes sense.
Example... The reason that Platinum is more expensive than Gold is... Platinum is rarer.
Gold is more expensive than Silver. You guessed it... Its more rarer.

So. From least expensive to most expensive.
The colour of Opal in order is: White... Grey... Black... Blue... Green... Yellow... Orange... Red. (and, Gold coloured Opal is in the air... possibly more expensive... some experts have conflicting views on the colour Gold... Whether or not if it is classified with the Yellow price (Metallic Yellow) or if it is really more expensive than the more rarer Red colour). Usually the Expert Buyers (of Opal) will say that "Gold" is actually Yellow (metallic). While the sellers would say otherwise. One fact remains... Any metallic Opal found is rare. Think about this... How many metalic coloured Opals have you seen in your life????? Do a Google (TM, R) search... for "metallic Opal"... Or, go and visit an Opal shop near your area, to see if they have any metallic Opals.

PATTERN: Everyone has heard something called a "Harlequin" "Flagstone" Pattern. But do you actually know what this means?
If you said "Big Moving (pixel) Pattern" (or along these lines)... Your wrong!
Harlequin Pattern is a "Chess Board" Pattern (checkered pattern... like a checkers board). Near equally symmetrical squares.
All aligned in Straight rows and columns. Now, obviously... There is no true "PERFECT" chess board pattern out there....
But, this description is given to an Opal, when the Pattern is resembling (and comes close to) this kind of pattern.

WARNING... There are Sellers out there who deceive people, by saying that they have a "Harlequin" pattern. When in fact it is not. Study the stone. Look at it yourself.

I can tell you now... If there were any Sellers who had a True "Harlequin"... Expect the price to be AU$1000's (thousands of dollars) per carat. No matter what Colour it may have.
The Reason... A "Harlequin" (or "Flagstone") is the most RAREST of all Patterns imaginable. And, I am serious when I say "RARE". I have yet to see one in person, in the 10 years (min) I have been involved in the Opal Industry. Not many People have truly seen one. Thats how RARE they are.
The best example I can give is... google (TM,R) search "the croation flag"... This flag has a "Harlequin" Pattern (chess board pattern). Now if you owned a Stone like this... How much would you sell it for? AU$1000 or AU$10,000.

"Harlequin", as described above. Extremely Hard to find. Extremely Very Highly sought after. Most Rarest.
"Ribbon" pattern (as the name suggest), has a stripe/ribbon Pattern. Highly sought after. Very Rare.
"Chinese Slash Writing", has a Pattern that resembles Chinese Writing. Highly sought after. Very Rare.
"Broad Flash", is when the Colour Movement across the Stone "Flashes", from one end of Stone to the other. sought after. Rare.
"Electric", is when the Colour is Metallic in appearance. And, is Luminance (like a Plasma TV glow) in appearance.sought after. Rare.
"Pin-Fire" as the name suggest, resembles many "pin heads" of Colour, close in proximity to each other. sought after. Common.
"Picture Stones", as the name suggest. resembles a picture/scenery/painting/abstract/contemporary of some sort. sought after. Common.

There are other variants of Patterns. But the above list is the most commonly used descriptions for most Patterns.

HOST/BASE STONE COLOUR (TRANSPARENCY):  From  most expensive (RAREST) - to least Expensive (COMMON), they are...
"Black Opal", you can not see light coming through the Stone (if held up to a light source). Most Rarest (Ridge Colour)
"Magnesium Black Boulder", as above. Can not see light. Most Rarest (Boulder)
"Ironstone", as above. Can not see light. Very Rare (Boulder)
"Sandstone", as above. Can not see light. Common (Boulder)
"Dark Grey Opal", as above. Can not see light. Rare (Ridge)
"Grey Opal", some low level light can be seen. Common (Ridge & Sometimes Coober Pedy)
"Light Grey", some medium level light can be seen. Common (Ridge & Coober Pedy)
"White", some heavy light levels can be seen through Stone. Most Common (Ridge & Coober Pedy)
"Transparent" "Crystal",  is when you can see Light coming through the Opal (like water in a glass). Most Common (Ridge & Coober Pedy)

There is obviously other variants to Opal, when it comes to Price.
But, the above descriptives are the main important issues when ti comes to Price/Value of Opal.



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