Black Opal

The Black Opal is the most sort after opal there is. Black opals have a very common misconception that they are completely black. We hear this all the time and wonder why people would want something that is completely black yet costs a lot of money. The stone would be of very little or no value if this was the case. The black refers to the body tone of the opal. This darkness is what helps to intensify and deepen the colours of the opal, giving us the intence deep reds,oranges,golds, greens and blues etc. With black boulder opal most have a natural band of manganese behind the opal. On these manganese bars is where you will often find the most amazing and intence colours that boulder opal has to offer.

Below is a good example of a black boulder opal with the destinct manganese backing that gives this opal the distinct dark bodytone.

There is a common misconception that black opal only comes from Lightning Ridge, Australia. Black opal is not from a specific location, it is a name used for opals with a very dark or black body tone as seen in the body tone chart on our Buying Opals page. You will often find opals from Lightning Ridge that are of a light or white body tone being sold as black opals because of their origin. Even for the uneducated person they can see that white is not Black. If an opal is very light or white regardless of its origin it is NOT a Black opal. If an opal is very dark or black regardless of its origin it is a Black opal.

Black opals that come from Lightning Ridge slightly differ from the black boulder opals in the way that they are cut leaving a layer of black or dark potch on the back of the opal instead of the manganese/ironstone. Both forms of black opal are amazingly intense for the same reason, that the very dark body tone of the opal helps deepen and intensify the natural colours of the opal.

The Lightning Ridge Black Opal is more commonly known due to over 100 years of marketing, under the name of black opal in a very small field area, but in recent time the Queensland Boulder Opal has jumped into the market in leaps and bounds, especially now that the Lightning Ridge fields have dramatically slowed down in production and the Queensland Boulder Opal Fields including Koroit and Yowah are still and will continue to produce for many years to come.

In our opinion and the opinion of many other people in the opal industry, now is the time to be investing in Black Boulder Opals and black opal jewellery before the prices fluctuate to the extreme heights of that of the Lightning Ridge Black Opal. It is only a matter of time. The demand for boulder opal is growing on a daily basis all around the world, as people find out it has just as good, if not better, colour and brightness then that of the Lightning Ridge black opal.


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