Opals with their striking allure and mystical beauty definitely mesmerize one and all. Their dramatic play-of-color makes them one of the most sought-after gemstones available today. The official birthstone of October, opals are simply ethereal and one of a kind gemstones. Frequently compared to galaxies, fireworks and volcanoes, these rainbow-hued beauties are a real treasure to possess and adorn.

Even though they are highly adored, there is still a misconception that opals are only milky white. In reality, they display diverse background colors (also known as body color) and are divided into different types depending on these colors. From these various categories, we will talk about the five most important types of opals and their hues.

Mystical Opal and its 5 Wonderful Varieties

  1. White or Light Opal: These opals are the most commonly found in nature. They are translucent to semi-translucent with the play-of-color set against a white or light body color. They are not only white in hue but also have background shades ranging from colorless to medium grey. The intensity of their body color affects the visibility of the flashes of color seen on these gemstones. Simply put, the play-of-color will be more vivid on a colorless opal as compared to a white opal.

  1. Black Opal: From all the opal types, the black opals are extremely rare and highly valued. They are translucent to opaque and display play-of-color against a black or other dark-hued background. Contrary to the name, these opals are not completely black; they simply have a darker body color, which makes the flashes of colors more obvious on a black opal. The contrast of colors makes these opals more desirable and as a result they are sold for higher prices.

  1. Fire Opal: This term is used for colorful and transparent to translucent opals that have a fire-like background color of brown, orange, yellow or red. The word ‘fire opals’ usually confuses people to think that these gems display a very vibrant color play, which is a misconception. It actually signifies that the opal has an exquisite fire-like background color that defines the stone. This gem rarely shows any play-of-color and when it does there are extremely faint green flashes that are visible. These gemstones are also known as ‘Mexican Opals’ after their source of origin.

  1. Boulder Opal: This variety of opal has the host rock as a part of the gemstone, hence the name. These opals usually form within the cracks or voids of the host rock and their specimen clearly shows this part of their origin. Boulder opals range from translucent to opaque and exhibit the play-of-color against a light to dark background. The flashes of bright colors against a dark body color make these opals appear strikingly beautiful.

  1. Crystal or Water Opal: This term is used to signify opals that are transparent to semi-transparent and have sharp color clarity. They show the most exceptional play-of-color due to their clear background. Crystal opals are extremely appealing visually and enable you to see a spectrum of colors in their complete glory. Embodying the celestial beauty of the galaxy within them, these opals are breathtaking and in demand.

As distinct as fingerprints or snowflakes, opals are totally magnificent. These opulent gemstones are extremely elegant and classy and make the perfect choice for all those who appreciate the beauty of colors.

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