Every now and then, at llyn strong fine art jewelry, we like to give one gemstone the attention it deserves and this October we are bringing opals into the spotlight. In conjunction with our opal dealer, Hopkins Opal, we’re planning an educational show for October 26-28 of 2017, where attendees will get the chance to examine rare opals and learn how they are mined and processed.
Hopkins Opal is an Australian, family run, opal company that specializes in every stage of opal mining and distribution. Samuel Hopkins and his sons Matthew and Daniel live in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, the site of a major black opal deposit. Though they specialize in the Lightning Ridge black opals, Hopkins Opal also carries many other varieties. There are five major varieties of opal.
1. Crystal or water opal- Transparent to semi-transparent, with a clear background. Vivid and strong play-of-color.
2. White or light opal- Translucent to semi-translucent, with play-of-color against a white body-color.
3. Black opal- Translucent to opaque, with play-of-color against a black or dark grey background.
4. Fire opal or Mexican opal- Transparent to translucent, with red, orange, yellow, or brown body-color. May or may not show play-of-color.
5. Boulder opal- Translucent to opaque, with play-of-color against a light to dark background and rock matrix.
A major component of opal is “play-of-color”, which describes the phenomenon that causes some opals to appear to change color when viewed from different angles or in different lighting. Opals that display play-of-color are considered precious opals and those that do not are considered common. Precious opal can be white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown, and black. Precious black opal is the rarest, whereas white is the most common. This rare black opal is mainly found in Lightning Ridge, and its unique coloration and scarcity have made it an extremely sought after gem.
We’ll be exploring opals in depth this October with our educational showcase. We’ll be joined by Matt Hopkins of Hopkins Opal, who will bring with him an expansive collection of opals and a lifetime of experience with the gem. Whether you’re interested in having custom jewelry designed, learning more about an unusual gemstone, or just seeing a black opal in person, check back for more information as the event approaches for opportunities to sign up!