Australian Black Opal comes from Lightning Ridge in the outback of New South Wales, Australia. Commercially it would produce over 95% of the World’s black opal in terms of quantity and quality. Other Australian opal mining fields produce light or crystal opal.
Australian Black Opal from Lightning Ridge is the ‘pinnacle ‘ in terms of price, for all opal. Black Opal forms less than 15% of the total production from Lightning Ridge, making it a rare gem in terms of the total output.
There have been no discoveries of Australian Black Opal for many years. The bulk of this type of opal is now coming from the most heavily prospected and mined areas. The rough is mainly restricted to reworking old areas where pockets have been missed by ‘old-time miners’.
What is the Australian Black Opal?
Australian black opal has a body tone of black (N1-N4). The black body tone strongly enhances the overlying colors making the colours stand out and from very bright to vivid in brightness.
How important is color in Australian Black Opal?
The primary and secondary color combinations have an important effect on opal price—the primary colors – red, orange, yellow, green and blue. Black Opal Direct lists predominant colors on all the opals for sale. The dominant color is listed first with the secondary color second.
The red on black being the most valuable and most rare of all. Red on black opal means the opal body is black or very dark in color with flashes of red color on the top of the black opal.
What is potch?
Opal without color is called ‘potch’. To be more specific ‘ an impure opal showing no spectral colour’. Potch can be any color from black through to the grey range to white clear to pale yellow to shades of brown.