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The difference between black opal and crystal opal

How is it that opals from the same place can be so different? In today’s video, I explain the difference between black opal and crystal opal and how you can spot them!

Crystal opal

A great way to check whether an opal is a crystal opal or not is with a torch (or flashlight for my American opal-holics.)

Shine the light from the torch through the back of the opal; if the opal glows, you’ve got crystal opal! Crystal opals can have a tint but are always semi-transparent meaning you can see the light of the torch through them.

Black opal

The same test can be done to see whether what you’ve got is black opal, too. Shine your torch through the back of the stone and you shouldn’t be able to see the light come through the other side. Black opal has black potch on the back, and it’s this potch that the light can’t shine through.

Which should I buy?

When it comes to buying opal, should you buy black or crystal? Well, it depends.

Black opal is a great option for those looking to invest in a gem as it holds value, even increasing, over time. On the other hand, top gem quality crystal opal has an intense play of color and vibrancy that I feel is underrated.

It comes down to buying what you like for your skin tone, your color preference, or what you plan on doing with the opal.