Is Opal A Good Choice For An Engagement Ring?

Traditionally, choosing an engagement ring meant selecting a diamond embedded in a silver or gold band. Everyone wants a ring that is one-of-a-kind and unique for their magical day. However, in cases of diamonds, though they are elegant and durable gemstones, it’s more likely you’ll find two stones that look alike.

However, in the case of opals, improbable you’ll find the exact stone elsewhere. That’s because these gemstones give off an optical illusion effect as the angle of view or inclination of illumination changes, which results in flashes of coloured light, also known as play-of-colour or iridescence.

Every opal gemstone is different from the other, and depending on the conditions in which it is formed, It may be transparent, translucent, or opaque. In addition, the colour of the background can be of any colour. Black opals are said to be the rarest of all, and the red ones are precious.

Pick the Best Australian Opals For Your Love

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Ninety-six per cent of opals are commonly found in regions like Australia,  formed in the dry period after the seasonal rains. To see some of the best opals, go to this site. There is a wide selection of this gemstone in various mixtures of colours, and you’ll also note that none of them look alike. Each stone is different and one-of-a-kind.

History of Opals

Australia is known to be the home of opals. Almost 30 million years ago, an enormous amount of silica solution was released that filled up layers and cracks in rocks and clay and even in some fossils. It typically takes 5 to 6 million years for 1 cm of opal to form and mature. From there, opals came to be in two types: standard and precious.

Common opals are less popular to be used as gemstones but precious opals, because of their iridescent colours, are unique and more sought-after in making fine jewellery.

Opal Symbolism and Folklore

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As a birthstone of  October, Opals symbolize loyalty, hope, and happiness. In mystical beliefs, opal is considered a sign of innocence and purity due to its ethereal appearance. On the other hand, in many mythological cultures, such as the Middle-Eastern, they believed it was the stone from heaven.

However, its popularity fell during the Middle Ages where Opals were associated with misfortune and bad luck. These notions all fell away when opals regained their popularity after 50 years when the first black opal was found. Since then, opal gemstones were back in demand, and the business boomed.

Why choose an Opal Engagement Ring?

 The ongoing pandemic brought about many obstructions, especially when it came to wedding shopping. This is one of the reasons why many couples opted for a less traditional wedding and unique ways of shopping for jewellery, outfits, and accessories. Where the traditional diamond ring becomes heavy on the pocket, opal rings were the saviour.

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For many years, opals symbolize loyalty and everlasting love,  which we look for in a marriage. Apart from that, there are other reasons as to why you should choose an opal ring for your loved one besides symbolism:

  • Unique 

As mentioned,  every opal gemstone contains a blend of different, vibrant colours. You’ll not find two that look the same which cannot be said in cases of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, or sapphires. The best part is that it is impossible to replicate the same design, which is why opals are considered one-of-a-kind.

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  • Budget-friendly

 When it comes to your engagement, you’ll want to give a ring that’ll make every person in the room hold their breath and say, “Wow!”. Everyone expects a diamond ring band during an engagement ceremony. But when the unexpected happens, and they see the magnificent beauty of an opal ring, it soon becomes the talk of the town.

In addition to the beauty, opals are also more budget-friendly than diamonds. So it’s hitting two birds with one stone: rare gemstone and easy on the wallet!

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  • Durable

Premium quality Australian opals were formed over million years ago in Cretaceous rocks, which makes them rigid and durable. However, the hardest of them are boulder opals, as they have a strong ironstone backing.

Drawbacks of Opal Stones

The only drawback to opal gemstones is that they are more susceptible to damage than other gemstones. If the opal stone is brushed roughly, it may get scratches on its surface, and due to its high water content, it may make it liable to crack and even break in sudden temperature changes. When considering buying an opal stone, this is the one factor you need to keep in mind before making a purchase.

Types of Opals

Choosing your wedding day jewellery can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to rings. Opal rings are an excellent choice for unconventional brides or couples looking for a one-of-a-kind and a little less traditional wedding ring. High-quality opals aren’t only rare and beautiful but also more affordable than other stones.

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In addition, opals have low density, which means you can select larger-sized stones for the same carat weight. Here are some opals that are popular for engagement rings:

Black Opals

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Black opals have carbon and iron oxide trace elements which causes the dark background colour of the stone. Because of this dark background, all the rainbow colours stand out much better than the white-coloured background stones. This is the reason why black opals are the rarest among gemstones and also the most expensive.

For one to three carats of this precious gem on an engagement ring, expect to pay a few thousand dollars.

White Opals

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 White opals are more commonly found than black ones. The white background ranges from transparent to translucent and sometimes too opaque. The best and high-quality white opals will show all the colours in the visual spectrum, making it look more attractive on an engagement band.

Boulder and Matrix Opals

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Boulder opals are more durable than their counterparts as they are mined with ironstone or sandstone backing. This also darkens the background colour of the stone, displaying and increasing the opal’s vibrant play of colours. Boulder opals come in irregular sizes and cannot be resized due to the thinness of the material on top of the ironstone. The shape is what makes it more unique and gorgeous.

Matrix Opals are mixed with hot stone, be it iron or sand. These are pretty rare and may even be expensive. Expect tens or hundreds of dollars per carat for these opals.

Fire Opals

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Fire opals exude a variety of bright yellow, orange or fiery red background colours. This is the only drawback of fire opal in that it does not illuminate or “flash” rainbow colours. Despite that, when fire opals are cut into faceted gems, it becomes exceptionally magnificent.

Crystal Opals

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Crystal opals do not have any background colour; that is, it does not have the oxides that turn the material colour white or black. It is transparent and translucent, and when you hold it up to the light, you can see straight through it.

Crystal opals are pure and can diffract multi-coloured light. It is the most valuable and, according to its carved size (oval, round, or teardrop), it can significantly impact the colours it exudes.

Blue Opals

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The name blue is given for its opaque, blue-green colours. Also known as Peruvian opal, this gem does not display pleochroism.

Tips For The Perfect Opal Engagement Ring 

If you have decided to purchase an opal engagement ring, these guidelines will help you to get the perfect one:

  • If you’re looking for durability, boulder opals are a perfect choice. Because of their rigid ironstone backing, they are more robust than other opals. In addition, their irregular size makes the ring look more creative in design.
  • A bezel setting is a must for opal engagement rings. As opals are less durable than diamonds, they can easily get damaged on impact. Claw settings provide less protection and will wear down over time.
  • Avoid a high-domed stone on your ring. Known as a cabochon (i.e., the dome on top), for opal rings, it is preferable to select stones that have a flat or low cabochon. This way, it’ll be less vulnerable to impacts and less likely to be damaged.

In a Nutshell

If taken correctly, opals can make the most beautiful and unique engagement ring for your big day. There are a variety of opals with different background colours to choose from, though you’ll not find two that look alike. That’s the beauty of opals. In addition, it’s easy on the wallet, which is like a cherry on top. Perfect for that one-of-a-kind bride!