Mythbusting Opal

Do Opals loose there colour over time ?


Many people ask us this question, usually concerned about opal jewellery or opal investment they have already made or about to make. We can assure you that this is not the case, the colours that opal display are all due to the precise stacking of the molecules and how this allows the light to diffract, and obviously many things can change over time but the molecular structure of an opal can not!!! In fact we have had people bring in opal jewellery to show us that is many generations old and is still as stunning as the day it left the ground. You can see an example of opal molecules on our About Opals page.



You should not emmerse your opals or opal jewellery in water ?


This is another common myth we here on an almost daily basis in our shop, the answer is it doesn't matter, water will do nothing to your opal other than make it wet. In fact when purchasing rough or faced parcels (as they are known in the opal industry) we like to wet them to give us an idea of what the colour may be like once we have polished them. This myth originated from people being sold Opal Doublets and Triplets and not being correctly informed that infact they were not purchasing a natural solid opal. Due to the fact that Opal Doublets and Triplets are comprised of multiple layers glued together, sometimes water can leach between the layers and especially on an Opal Triplet make the opal appear to loose its colour and go cloudy. You can find out more about layered and synthetic opals on our Buying Opals page.



You should care for your opal by soaking it in water or rubbing it with oil ?


We find this one funny as this myth and the previous myth are quite common yet they are contradicting each other. As stated in an earlier article, putting your opal in water will only make it look wet and rubbing it with oil will only make it oily. In saying this we would not say that opals should be neglected and are bullet proof. On the scheme of things opals are reasonably soft, a little harder than glass and not as hard as diamonds. Opals are susceptible to being dulled with long term wear and tear(we are talking about wearing a ring everyday). Every five or ten years you might need to have your opal repolished, this will only take a few minutes. We would recomend that your opal jewellery should be worn as much as you can, show it off and make others jealous, but at the same time be sensible, don't dig in the garden with it, we don't wear ours while we are out mining and cracking rocks! Most people take off any rings they wear to do the dishes, so do the same with an opal ring. Over time from wear and tear you might find that your opal looses a little of its sheen. The only way to deal with this is to have it repolished by a professional. Dont look for cheep tricks on the net.



Opals are Bad Luck ?


Opal has been thought of as a LUCKY GEMSTONE  for thousands of years in the Roman,Greek and Egyptian cultures. The bad luck stories started in about 1880 when a large amount of BOULDER OPAL from Queensland was exported to England, Europe and America. It was about at this time Debeers were starting up. To try and get a larger percentage of the Gemstone market with there diamonds, Debeers started this roumor and promoted it with vigor . " THAT OPAL WAS BAD LUCK " Funny how we always remember the bad, but all we can say about this myth, is with no scientific fact in the making of good or bad luck, Its false. We can say with confidence that OPALS have brought us and many people we know in the industry very good luck. A stone that posesses such mystical beauty with its large range of colours, pattern and luster matched by no other Gemstone, how could you believe anything other than good fortune to come from being the proud owner of an opal.



Opals are prone to cracking ?


Being such a broad statement this can not be concluded as true or false. It is well know and has been for many years by people in the industry that an opal that is prone to crack will be cracked as it comes out of the ground or will crack very soon after it has been cut. There are certain mines that are known to being prone to cracking but this still doesn't mean that all opals from these areas will crack. Australian Opals are the most stable opals in the world and you will find only a very small number of solid Australian Opals will crack. We stay clear of other opals for this reason, Volcanic opals are well known for cracking, which has made the market for these particular opals quite small. In conclusion purchasing a solid Australian Opal from a trusted dealer will ensure your opal is of the best quality it can be, and will not crack in the future. I have been in the Queensland Boulder Opal industry for 17 years, in all that time the only Boulder Opals I have seen cracked, were already cracked in the ground before mining or were cracked while mining. I have never had a Boulder Opal crack on me after I cut and polished it.



Black Opal Only Comes From Lightning Ridge ?


I suppose this myth has originated from people marketing Lightning Ridge opal, It is very common to see someone selling a distinctly white or very light opal, yet claiming it is a black opal because of its origin (lightning ridge). The best way to understand the meaning of Black Opal is that the black relates to the body tone of the opal, you can read more about this on our Buying Opal page. So once you understand this it is simple to understand that all black opal is not from Lightning Ridge and all Lightning Ridge opal is NOT black. In fact a large percentage of QUEENSLAND BOULDER OPAL has a very dark or black body tone making it Black Opal. So don't be fooled by what you here, it is very easy to see with your own eyes if an opal you are looking at is black or not.