Is Opal (Jewelry) a Good Investment? Did you know that the opal is considered to be the October birthstone? Here, we’ll explore this unique stone and hopefully help you determine if it makes a good investment.
What is opal?
While opals fall under the classification of gemstones, they are different from the rest because they have their own species. How you talk about opals is not the same as you would other gems.
Of all stones, opals are the most delicate and require a lot of special care. There are about 25 different varies of opal, so you’re spoilt for choice. Some examples include the common opal, jasper opal, pink opal, black opal, precious opal, white opal, and fire opal, only to mention a few.
The opals are also available in several exquisite colors. That means that you’re almost guaranteed to own a color that you’ll love. Examples of the same include violet, white, colorless, orange, blue, greenish, gray, yellowish-brown, and various red shades.
When you look at the stone’s luster, one can say that it is waxy, almost similar looking to the way a pearl does, and most of all, it has a glass-like appearance.
How opals come into being is also unique. As per recent works done investigating this precious gem, it shows that the opal is composed of aggregated tiny spherical particles. In essence, you can think about it as a solidified gel that comes in different forms, such as being hard, appear to take the shape of grapes, icicle shapes, or kidneys when they are in their natural state.
The refractive index, which refers to how light rays bend when passing through a medium, is between 1.37 and 1.47. For comparison purposes, glass has a refractive index of 1.5, and diamonds, which has the highest refractive index of all gemstones, falls at 2.42.
When focusing on the hardness of it, opal doesn’t fair on well. On the Mohs scale, it falls between 5.5 and 6.5. Again, for comparison, glass has a hardness scale of 5.5, with diamond being the hardest mineral, scoring at 10.
With such a low score, it makes the opal a fragile piece to wear. It means taking a lot more care than other stones, given that it can break almost like a glass. It’s also sensitive to heat, so you have to be mindful of where you store your opal.
What’s the value and price of opal?
Determining the value of diamonds and rubies is straightforward. What gemologists do is look at the color, cut, clarity, and carat. There is hardly ever any dispute as to what criteria particular diamonds fit into.
However, with opal, it’s agreed that doing an appraisal of an opal’s value and price is an art. The reason for that is that each piece of opal has so many varied properties that there is no scale, per se, to use. That means grading an opal on a scale requires careful deliberations.
The good thing is that the Gemological Association of Australia (GAA), in 1997, offered the world a way to classify the various types of opals available. The word for that is nomenclature. Since then, the system they suggested is primarily accepted and still used to score opals.
Pros and cons of opal jewelry
Let’s explore a brief list of the advantages and disadvantages of opal.
- It is beautiful, and each stone is one of its kind
- They last for years
- You can get them in a variety of colors
- You can always get something within your budget
- They are delicate and need to maintain a certain moisture balance to avoid forming cracks
Is opal (Jewelry) a good investment?
Opal as a stone is a fantastic investment, but that’s, of course, based on what we’ve discussed as being more valuable.
When placed on jewelry with a good resale or heirloom value such as gold and silver, you can indeed consider opal a worthy investment.
Overall, a good trick is getting items with a rare pattern. For example, opals that mimic snakeskin, fish scales, or a honeycomb in appearance fetch a higher value.
However, to get the most out of your investment, hold on to your opals for a bit longer so they can appreciate given their high demand and low supply.
However, be mindful where you sell it since auctioneers take about 10 to 15 percent of the total value to opal has been sold for.
Opal Investment Tips
You need to know your gemstones to score the right one. One of the classifications to look at in a gem lab is the body tone. That refers to the range of grading a gemstone, either black, dark, or light, on a scale between N1 to N9. Anything that falls between N1 and N4 is considered black opal. N5 and N6 are considered dark opals, while N7 and N8 are light opals. The white opal has the body tone of N9.
Aside from the body tone, other primary scales used are determining the opal’s color, the cut, the play of color, and the imperfections present. That said, the four Cs still apply in the overall grading of an opal. That’s to say that grading an opal is no comfortable fit, and you have to ensure that you’re getting it from a certified jeweler so that you’re not coned based on made-up assessments.
You need to know about opals because the lower the body tone, the more valuable it is. The reason behind that is that the darker the opal is, the more it can shine vibrantly. If you’ve scouted Amazon, Etsy, and other online stores, you might have noticed that the available types of opals are primarily white. That’s with good reason. A one-carat opal can cost upward of $10,000. Its price tag keeps it out of the public scope, while the least expensive kind is readily available.
Another factor that we’ll expound on, which determines the price and the value of opal, is the play of color. We’d mentioned a variety of opals in the previous segment. The play of color refers to the diffraction that occurs in white light across the internal structure. The internal structure is made up of well-arranged spheres of silica. When this process takes place, opal produces the beautiful spectrum of colors it’s known for.
The hierarchy of value is red, followed by green and then blue. The reason for that is the frequency in which nature produces the color red compared to green and blue. We have red rubies because it has larger and rarer makeup in its microscopic silica spheres. On the other hand, those in blue opal are commonly found in nature.
Lastly, the pattern on the opal also plays a role in the value of the opal. Some of the great designs to get include flagstone, harlequin, straw, ribbon, and some two unique ones, Chinese writing and picture stones, where you can see both aspects on the stone. Broad, rolling flash, floral, and pinfire are the more commons patterns available.
It would be best if you remembered that your return on investment is very much determined by what you want to put in.
The best approach is to purchase rare pieces that will likely fetch a higher price in the future.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.