The Allure of an Australian Opal Ring2023 Nov, 09
What to look for when buying an Australian Opal Ring
Wearing an Australian opal ring is like wearing a world of gemstones captured in one. Opals possess a beauty so striking they could be mistaken for being otherworldly.
The perfect opal ring will be one that you never want to take off. It should encapsulate your unique personality and creative spirit. We have a saying at Opal Minded – that the opal chooses you. When exploring our precious Australian opals, we are confident that you will find an opal match as distinct as your handwriting.
Whether you’re exploring for yourself or a loved one, an Opal Minded opal ring is the ultimate expression of love. From their enduring formation to their arresting colour-play and patterns, read on to find out why Australian precious opals belong in a gemstone league of their own, and why an opal ring is the statement piece you’ve been searching for.
Opal Origins – where and how are Australian opals found?
The unique geological conditions in Australia, such as ancient inland seas and volcanic activity, have created the perfect environment for opal formation. Opal gemstones are millions of years in the making. They result from silica and water combining deep in the cracks and crevices of the Earth’s crust, where the silica deposits solidify to form opal gemstones.
The exact chemical process that transforms hydrated silica into the wondrous precious opal we see today remains a mystery. We do know that premium quality Australian opals are found in areas coinciding with the ancient Eromonga Sea – located in today’s Queensland. Some of these mines include Winton, Yowah, Qulpie, and our own mine, – Jundah-Opalville. There are also well known mines located in South Australia and New South Wales.
To learn more about opal origins, check out our blog on the history here.
Which opals to choose? Black, white and everything in between
White or light-coloured opals are a stunning option if you are after a more understated yet equally beautiful gemstone. The body tone of a lighter-coloured opal can range from translucent milky hues to pearlescent, with brilliant flashes of pale green and blue, to more vibrant pinks and reds, with a plethora of colours in between.
One method we suggest to help people decipher opal body tone is to look at an opal as if you see no colours (colour-play) at all, but instead consider the overall opal body colour on a light/grey/black scale – imagining you are colour blind for a moment. This approach can be helpful as it categorises an opal that is predominantly light in appearance as a ‘light’ or ‘white’ opal, and an opal with a predominantly dark grey or black body as a ‘black opal’.
The darker the body tone an opal has, the more vividly the play of colours within the opal will be expressed. The striking colour-play in darker body opals creates a vibrancy and immense colour explosion – enough to keep you captivated for hours. This impact is often attributed to their supreme desirability.
What colour opal is the most valuable?
Many people claim that the red opal is the rarest and, therefore, the most valuable. By adopting this approach, we could subsequently assign value to the full opal colour spectrum. However, we strongly suggest being guided by the opal’s quality (clarity, pattern, colour-play) and how well the overall body tone and colours within, complement the wearer. You may find a premium white or green opal with flawless quality, priced significantly higher than a red opal. Ultimately it is about choosing the opal best suited to you (or your loved one).
If you would like to explore more of the qualities that contribute to an opal’s value, read our blog here.
At Opal Minded, we only use the most exquisite precious Australian opals, mined exclusively from Australian mines. A precious opal is an opal that presents a play of colours and can come with or without its host rock. We select from premium Australian black, boulder and light opals of varying colours and patterns that exhibit rare and enchanting characteristics.
How much is an opal ring worth?
That depends – in most cases, the significant value lies in the quality and type of precious opal featured. The rarity, clarity, colour-play, pattern, and uniqueness all affect the overall price of the ring.
The complexity and sophistication of the ring design and the reputation of the jewellery designer also play a role in determining the value. Additionally, an opal ring’s value is influenced by where it is made. For example, bespoke settings in Australia are significantly more expensive than those made off-shore.
Some less premium stores and online sellers may retail opal rings that have been commercially produced, with multiple settings, and opals that have been glued or inserted haphazardly. A good rule of thumb is that you generally get what you pay for so expecting a quality opal ring to be priced in the hundreds is ambitious.
Opal ring design options
The versatility of opals allows them to be paired with multiple types of metals and other gemstones, creating endless possibilities for unique and personalised jewellery pieces.
The simplest ring setting is a solitaire setting, in which the opal is set in prongs/claws, or a part-bezel setting with the metal wrapped around some (part-bezel), or all (full-bezel) of it. Having metal to protect the opal is generally a safer setting for long-term, everyday wear. However, our prong-set opals are also crafted to withstand the test of time over generations, based on the testimonies of our thousands of customers worldwide.
We offer plenty of options to satisfy the opal purist, and we love letting the opal remain the ring’s focal point. Your opal ring may be set in 18K white or yellow gold, sterling silver, or 18K rose gold. We can also set your opal in different metals based on your preference.
Our opal ring designs range from contemporary to classic – with a strong focus on the shape of the band and the placement of the opal within it. Some of our opal rings feature high-quality diamonds or blue, yellow and pink sapphire, green Tsavorites and occasionally other gem material, depending on the design. We often include additional gemstones alongside opals for cocktail rings and (occasional wear) cluster rings.
Additional gemstones are selected based on their ability to emphasise the beauty of the featured opal. Our most classical ring design is a central opal surrounded by a halo of diamonds and is the preferred opal engagement ring choice.
An opal engagement ring is one of the more unique ways to say I love you. While we have some “ready-to-propose” engagement rings, a fantastic option for a nervous future fiancé, we also offer a premium bespoke service. All engagement rings are designed by our award-winning Creative Director, Renata Bernard. You can read more about our bespoke engagement ring service here.
Precise replication of a one-of-a-kind precious opal is nearly impossible, so an Opal Minded ring is the perfect choice for the lover of original and creative expression.
Can I wear my Opal ring ever day?
Yes! You can most definitely wear your Opal Minded ring every day. Our rings are designed and crafted to be worn and adored daily. Our Opal Minded experts can advise on caring for your ring to ensure multi-generational enjoyment. Design decisions are based on a “fit for function” principle – whether for everyday or occasional wear. You’ll also receive a lifetime guarantee with your Opal Minded ring for peace of mind.
How to polish an opal ring
Opals require gentle, minimal cleaning to help maintain their luminous quality. These precious gemstones can be easily cared for at home. We recommend using a soft glassware cloth with warm water to remove dust, surface dirt and oil. Avoid using a silver polishing cloth.
With everyday, minimal-care wear, you may expect to see the surface of your opal ring dull after about six to ten years. This relates to opal rings, which are more likely to experience friction than an opal pendant or earrings. At this time – bring your ring into Opal Minded for a complimentary polish. If you are one of our international customers, just get in touch and we will organise the complimentary polish on your behalf.
What does wearing an opal ring mean?
The Australian opal is associated with love, passion, protection and creativity, making it a meaningful gemstone that can reflect the wearer’s individuality like no other.
There is something particularly special about an opal ring from Opal Minded. Expect nothing less than an exceptional quality opal presented in an extraordinary design. The Opal Minded team has generations of ethical and sustainable mining practices and craftsmanship experience. Our seasoned opal jewellers set our gems to last. Whether you are drawn to the opal’s beauty and mystique or want to adorn yourself or a loved one with a masterpiece from nature – an Opal Minded ring may be the missing piece.