Skip to main content

How Much is My Opal Worth?

How Much is My Opal Worth? Featured Image

More than almost any other gemstone, opals are uniquely individual. Not only do they occur in a wide variety of types, but they can exhibit all the colors in the rainbow, often all at once, in flashes of color as the stone is rotated. This phenomenon, know as ‘play of color,’ makes opals one of the trickiest gems to evaluate.

From precious black opals with dark blue, green, or black backgrounds to the translucent deep orange fire opals of Mexico, opals can vary as widely as snowflakes, and are deeply treasured for the very variety that can make them difficult to judge.

 

Evaluating Color in Opals

Color is the most important factor when evaluating opals, and is by far the most complex aspect to judge. Opals occur in hues of every color, and often more than one at once. Body-color, also known as background color, is a result of suspended impurities in the opal, and it determines the type of opal, like black or white. Black is generally a more favored background color as the dark background tends to highlight any play of color.

Play of color is the defining characteristic of a precious opal’s appearance. Also known as opalescence, play of color is the combination of color flashes that occur when viewed from different angles. Regardless of the combinations of colors, play of color is most prized when it is vivid. An opal with bright play of color is always more valuable than one with faint play of color.

In addition to the brightness of an opal’s play of color, the range of colors is important as well. Some opals exhibit only one main color with one or two secondary colors, but opals with a play of color that spans the entire spectrum are highly valued, especially if the colors are vivid.

Opals with red as the prominent hue in play of color are traditionally the most valuable, followed by orange and green, though personal taste can also dictate value. Play of color can also change with the viewing angle, with certain colors dominant only from certain angles. The most valuable opals exhibit play of color when viewed from any angle.

 

Pattern in an Opal’s Play of Color

Pattern in an opal refers to the arrangement of the stone’s play of color, and can take many forms. Generally speaking, large areas of color that are closely assembled are preferred over small pinpoints or scattered areas. Regardless of the pattern, the colors must be vivid for the stone to be valuable.

Also of importance when considering the pattern is the inclusion of “dead spots” or what is known as extinction. These areas in which there is no play of color and only the stone’s background color is visible can greatly detract from the overall value of the opal.

 

Evaluating Opal Transparency and Clarity

Opals naturally occur in a wide range of clarities, from totally opaque to completely transparent. Different types of opals are valued for different transparencies, based mostly on how the opacity highlights the play of color. In crystal opals, transparency tends to accentuate the play of color, whereas in black opals, an opaque background better displays its play of color. Cloudy or milky background colors will generally lower the value of an opal, regardless of its type or color.

Like all gemstones, opals can exhibit fractures, pits, or other surface imperfections that can lower their value. Fragments of the ore surrounding an opal, called matrix, are sometimes included in the polished gemstone, and can also negatively affect the value. Crazing, or small cracks that look like a spider’s web, can occur in some opals when exposed to extreme heat or dryness, and also lower the value of the gem.

 

How Opal Cut Affects Value

Because of the delicate interplay of background color and play of color, opals are usually cut in a way that best accentuates the play of color. In particularly large and exceptional opals this can lead to asymmetrical shapes that are best suited for a custom, one-of-a-kind setting. Most opals are fashioned into symmetrical ovals, often en cabochon, as the domed surfaces tend to highlight play of color the best.

 

Assembled Opals

Opals are relatively soft and fragile, and as a result, thinner opal material is sometimes fashioned with backings to give them greater strength and durability. Assembled opals called ‘doublets’  consist of opal material with glass, obsidian, or plastic backings. ‘Triplets’ are a thin layer of opal cemented between colorless quartz on top and a doublet style backing. While still of value as jewelry, assembled opals are valued at only a fraction of solid opals.

 

Get a Free Opal Appraisal

Contact Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers today for a free verbal appraisal of your opal ring, necklace, brooch, or loose opal gemstone. You can also get the process started online by telling us about the opal jewelry you wish to sell in the contact form below.

Call Us Toll Free: (800) 956-8505

Real Reviews From Customers


The people at Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers were professional and courteous and offered a good price for my ring. I wasn’t sure I wanted to ship off my ring so I researched the company read more as much as I could until I was satisfied. Sure enough, their business with me matched up to the reputation I saw online. I highly recommend them.

google Reviews

Bonnie

Google

Exceedingly pleased and impressed with this service. I worked with Paula who is professional, personal, and accountable. Everything happened as said from beginning to end, which was read more hard to believe at first. I re-read reviews even after I boxed up my items because of the anxiety! Paula helped normalize a sentimental event and held my trust throughout the whole process (which was actually very fast and exactly to description). Highly recommended and would use again without hesitation. Thank you Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers, especially Paula!

yelp Reviews

Jesse S.

Yelp

Let me tell you paula was the best she helped me so much with my fathers watches $ was put in my account as soon as she got the watches I would recommend this place always thanks for read more such great service.

facebook Reviews

Donna S.

Facebook

I had a wonderful experience selling them my Diamond ring. Paula was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I would definitely do business with them again.

facebook Reviews

Jennifer B.

Facebook

This company was excellent to deal with and very fair on their offer. Paula Dabney took care of my transaction and kept me informed of everything. The money was wired to me within an read more hour after the received my watch. I highly recommend this company to deal with..

google Reviews

Bill P.

Google

I had a timepiece that I was looking to sell and searched high and low to find a reputable dealer to appraise the piece and would offer a fair price. I came Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers read more online. At first I was hesitant to try an online service for this type of transaction but let me tell you, they were great. Paula helped me through the process and just as their website describes, it is a safe and secure method for this type transaction. It was a very smooth, seamless transaction…and the price was fair. I hope this review will allay any concerns people may have. I was hesitant at first, but now they will be my go-to people for this type of service in the future. Thanks again Paula for great customer-centric service.

yelp Reviews

John H.

Yelp

I had never sold anything online before, so was a little nervous about selling my Rolex. Based on Yelp reviews, I visited DEJB’s website and was pretty impressed. Worked with Paula read more to text some pics and got an estimate within hours. I got estimates from three other places and DEJB was right in line with two others, but was a touch higher. Based on the great customer service, I went with DEJB. Once I said I was in, Paula got me the prepaid, secure, insured shipping information within hours. Once received, they let me know my Rolex was as described and wired the full amount immediately. What else can I say? Fast, secure, friendly, fair – what more can you ask?

yelp Reviews

Scott E.

Yelp

The people at Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers were professional and courteous and offered a good price for my ring. I wasn’t sure I wanted to ship off my ring so I researched the company read more as much as I could until I was satisfied. Sure enough, their business with me matched up to the reputation I saw online. I highly recommend them.

google Reviews

Bonnie

Google

I reached out to Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers to sell my husband’s Rolex. Lori was very nice, knowledgeable, & inspired trust. Most importantly to me, there was absolutely no pressure read more to proceed—I felt very comfortable with the pace of the process. Lori gave me an estimated range of what the watch would be worth, subject to adjustment based on their appraisal once their buyer was able to examine it. She provided all details and the Fed Ex labels for shipping the watch—it was not hard and I was fully confident it would go without a snag. Lori called to let me know as soon as the watch arrived. The next day it was appraised by their buyer and Lori called to let me know the adjusted price. They dealt fairly with me, so I accepted and wire transfer was made same day to my bank account. Nicely done, Lori!

google Reviews

Renee R.

Google

Wonderful service! Paula made the selling process so easy for me from beginning to end. I live out-of-state, and she walked me through, step-by-step, exactly what to do to work with read more Diamond Estate to sell my diamonds. The process was effortless on my part! The owner gave me an excellent price. Paula was very professional and a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend working with Diamond Estate.

yelp Reviews

Amy F.

Yelp

About Diamond Estate

Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers is a leading fine jewelry buyer and watch buyer serving customers throughout the US. We've built our business on core values of integrity, honesty, and superior customer service. Are you looking to sell diamonds, rings, watches, earrings or other fine jewelry? Get in touch to get your no-obligation offer.

Get Started >

Diamond Estate President and Founder Carl Blackburn was interviewed in 2009 by KUSI Television, along with the Better Business Bureau's Sheryl Bilbrey, as one of San Diego's trustworthy and reputable jewelry buyers.

Ten Years later, Diamond Estate still maintains its A+ standing with the Better Business Bureau, while helping sellers nationwide become better informed through the many videos, guides, and articles published on this website.

Learn More >

Do you want to sell your jewelry

with $0 fees?


We are ready to buy your

Answer a few quick questions to get started and see how much cash you could receive.

Get Started

Free Estimate

Need assistance? Call us!
(800) 956-8505

Can we help?
Call us:
(800) 956-8505