Your Complete Guide To Opals

In late 2017, we started to introduce opals into our range. We absolutely love their distinct Australian look and think they match perfectly back with our pearls. To get to know a little more about our opals, read on…

What is an Opal?

Opal is one of the world’s most beautiful and precious gemstones. Australia produces 90% of the world’s precious opal and opal is Australia’s National Gemstones.

Opal is as old as the dinosaurs, it was formed over 80 million years ago when parts of Australia was covered by an inland sea.

Opal got its name from the Latin word “Opalus” which means “Change in colour”. They were first used by the Romans 2000 years ago. The Opals they used came from the mountain regions of Slovakia in Europe and were light in colour.

Opal is one of the most unique gemstones in the world and is classified at the National Gemstone of Australia

They have all the colours of the rainbow and a play of colour that no other stone has. It is 100% natural stone.

The definition of the opal is “Non crystallised minerals made by silicon dioxide combined with water”. Opal itself is made from the same mineral “silica gel”, but the comparison to these opals is one takes more than 6 million years to form and silica gel and the other takes few hours to make in a factory by a human.

Types of Ikecho Opals


Black Opal is a natural solid stone and is the rarest and most famous and valuable Opal.

It is called black due to its dark body tone and with a black or dark grey base with brilliant colours on the top ranging from blue to red, red being the most valuable if everything else is equal.

Found mainly at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales and some areas in South Australia, this magnificent variety in gem quality is arguably the most valuable. Ablaze with colour, its dark appearance distinguishes it from Light Opal. Lightning Ridge is about 750km distance from Sydney and Brisbane. It is a small country town relies mainly on opal mining and tourism is also a major income for the town with 60,000 visitors coming to town every year.


Found in South Western and Central Queensland. They are formed in cavities of ironstone or sandstone rocks. The colours are similar to black opals. They are also cut in freeform shape to highlight their individual beauty.


This is the most common opal of all because the production is much larger than other types of opal. This type of opal sometimes called light opal or milk opal due to its appearance. Coober Pedy, Mintabie and Andamooka (South Australia ) is the main source of White Opal.

With brilliant red, blues and greens intermingled in White or light background. Coober Pedy is an aboriginal word Kupa Pita or Kupa Piti meaning “White man in a hole.”

What’s the most valuable colour opal?

Generally opals with a black or dark body tone are more valuable than those with a white, light, or crystal body tone, because a stone with a darker body tone tends to display colours more vibrantly. Black opal is the most prized opal and may realise prices over AUD $15,000 a carat.

Buying Guide

Before buying, determine whether you are looking at a doublet, a triplet, or a solid opal. Doublets and triplets consist of a very thin slice of opal, cemented onto a black backing. This causes the stone to be dark & bright in colour (the idea being to replicate the highly valuable black opal). The advantage of buying a doublet or triplet is a lower price (they are much cheaper to produce) – however the disadvantage is they may eventually be destroyed if repeatedly immersed in water.

Solid opals are therefore considered much better – they’re 100% the “real thing” and are a quality, long-term investment.

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