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The difference between white opal and crystal opal

Is white opal the same as crystal opal? Although these two opals can look very similar, there’s a big difference that boils down to two keywords; translucent and transparent.

White opal

White opal sits between N8 and N9 on the body tone scale and is the lightest opal you can get. Although it can look similar to a crystal opal, white opal has a translucent body tone that looks like frosted glass. This milky, frosted glass look is key in distinguishing a white opal from a crystal opal.

Crystal opal

Crystal opal sits between N7 and N8 on the body tone scale and exhibits more brightness than a white opal can. This is because crystal opals are semi-transparent meaning that they look almost glass-like with no milky or frosted tint.

As with all opal, grading can be subjective. There is a fine line between crystal opal and white opal – both could be N8 on the body tone scale and then it becomes a matter of opinion. As always, you need to use the scale as a guide only. Ultimately it is about what appeals directly to you or the wearer that counts!

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