How is opal valued? What determines opal value? Who values opal? FAQ: How do I go about buying an opal?
How is opal valued?
Opal is valued on color, pattern and size.
Rare opal colors like red and black green are more valuable than more common colors like grey blue, creamy white and light purple.
Opal colors are determined by spherical structure. Learn more about opal structure here https://opalartglobal.com/about-opals/what-is-opal/
As every opal is different each one is valued on its individual merit.
What determines opal value?
Opal value is determined by color, pattern and size.
Other factors taken into consideration when valuing opal are inclusions such as pits and cracks, scratches or lifting (when the opal comes away from the rock).
A solid opal is the best option when buying an opal for investment. Learn more about solid opals here https://opalartglobal.com/about-opals/solids-doublets-triplets/.
Who values opal?
Experts value opal.
Besides being valued on color, pattern and size, opal value is also determined by supply and demand.
The first link in the valuation chain is raw opal supply. If little rough opal is being found (mined) and demand for rough opal is high, prices for raw opal sour.
When the opal is cut into opal gemstones, opal valuers compare and contrast color, pattern and size, to other opal gemstones of similar quality to arrive at a market value.
Opal valuers moderate with each other sometimes to discuss prices.
Opal valuers gain knowledge through first hand experience in dealing with opal and attending trade shows to learn current market tends.
Opal buying guide
Step 1. Look the opal gemstone over and explore how the color presents and if it presents in a particular way through pattern.
Step 2. Enquire, from the dealer, about the carat value of the color, pattern or combination of the two.
Step 3. Do the math equation – Value of color/pattern X carat weight = Piece price.
Step 4. Determine if the opal is a solid, doublet or triplet. Learn more about solids doublets and triplet here https://opalartglobal.com/about-opals/solids-doublets-triplets/ .
Step 5. A solid opal is the best option for investment and designer jewelry.
Step 6. Look for inclusions, especially cracks, by running the opal under a fluorescent light from all angles and perspectives. Also look for pits and scratches when doing this. Fluorescent light is better than direct sunlight for finding inclusions and the use of a jewellers loop (magnifier) can also be helpful. Digital photography is also another way to really see inside the opal.
Step 7. If buying an unset opal gemstone to be set into jewelry, decide on how the opal will be set and if the value of the opal and cost of setting are proportional and fits the budget.
Step 8. Get care instructions. Learn more about opal care here https://opalartglobal.com/about-opals/solids-doublets-triplets/.
Step 9. Do the check list: color, pattern, size, carat weight, stone value, solid, doublet, triplet, inclusions, suitability for setting, care instructions, guarantee and back up from dealer, and be clear in your own mind you understand what you are buying.
Step 10. Make a decision and good luck!