Today, Australia is the highest producer of opals in the world. To be precise, the country produces roughly 90% of all opals available globally. One highlight of Australian opal jewellery is that they are incredibly expensive, especially when compared to opal items sourced from other regions in the world.
So, here are a few burning questions; why are Australian opals expensive today? What exactly determines the value of opal jewellery in 2023? Check the next sections to see everything you need to know about these questions.
Here’s why Australian opals are generally so expensive
Today, Australian-sourced opal gemstone jewellery pieces are more expensive than products sourced from other regions because of many reasons.
- First, remote Australia produces the highest percentage of opals in the world. Unfortunately, these Australian regions have the harshest and most extreme climates, globally. Because of these weather conditions, it’s often difficult to mine opals from the ground in remote Australia. There is a need for enough moisture in the region to prevent mined opals from drying out. This explains why trained and professional miners put in their best to successfully obtain opals in this region.
That said, Australian opals are so expensive because of the amount of work and expertise that goes into obtaining them.
- One term that distinguishes Australian opals from other opals is their level of “opalescence.” In case you don’t know, opalescence means your opal’s milky iridescence display. Australian opals are pretty popular because of their spectacular colour spectrum.
That said, Australian-sourced opal jewellery’s one-of-a-kind colour combination is another reason why they are so expensive than other opals.
How does the valuation of Australian opal jewellery work in 2023?
At Masterpiece Jewellery, we can always help you check and determine the best value for your opal gemstone jewellery. Here, we make use of the standard approaches to value opals and their accessories. These approaches also include putting a few factors into consideration, such as colours, rarity, pattern, brightness, clarity, and body tone.
According to experts, rarity is one of the few factors that contributes to how expensive Australian opal jewellery pieces are today. Silica is one of the commonest minerals in the world today. Interestingly, this substance is available in significant amounts in opals. With that, it’s easy to think opals are also very common. But this is not true; precious opal jewellery pieces, which are mostly produced in Australia, are very rare. Matter of fact, these precious opals are even rarer to find compared to diamonds.
Today, 95% of opals mined today are common opals. These opals lack gem colour, which precious opals often come with.
The clarity of your gemstone jewellery is another factor that we consider when carrying out the valuation of your opals. The value is most likely to reduce if your opals have natural inclusions, such as pitch webbing, sand spots, and ironstone specks.
To achieve the best value possible, your opals need to have nice and clean faces. In addition, they also need to have little or no inclusions. This is also true if the natural inclusions help to create a flagstone pattern.
Brightness is another factor that we consider when valuing Australian opals. It’s pretty simple; the brighter your opal jewellery, the higher its value. Jewellery pieces with dull opals have less value when compared with opals with brilliant brightness.
4. Body Tone
The body tone of opals is categorised into 9 different levels (N1 to N9). Black opals, which are ranked between N1 to N4, are the most expensive out there. Opal jewellery pieces that fall between N5 to N6 are known as semi-black opals. They are more expensive than products in the third category (N7 to N9), which are known as white opals.