Harlequin Opal: The Rarest Black Opal Pattern of them All

Nowadays, we refer to lots of different types of harlequin pattern in opal. It has become a bit of a catchall phrase for great blocks of pattern arranged in a manner pleasing to the eye. Some of the types of harlequin include cloverleaf harlequin, flag harlequin and asteria harlequin.

However, in this post, I want to give you a treat and show you the rarest of them all – true old fashioned black opal with Harlequin pattern. Justin describes this as rare as dinosaur feathers, so I’m sure you get the idea that he is not kidding when he says he has seen only a few of these in his lifetime.

So what exactly is the old-fashioned harlequin pattern? The easiest way to understand it is to think of a chessboard – all black and white squares in a grid pattern. Harlequin is similar, but the squares are more diamond shape.  These black and white squares become squares of color arranged in a predominantly grid pattern in opals case. Of course, it is never an exact grid, but the color is usually very bright and laid out in blocks. The best stones have a black body tone.

This stone was recently acquired by us and just flew out the door. Some of you may have seen it on Facebook, and it is on its way to its new home.

Harlequin pattern stone - Black Opal Direct

13 thoughts on “Harlequin Opal: The Rarest Black Opal Pattern of them All”

  1. Hi, nice stone.would you be interested in seeing a piece like that I have?It is genuine block like that but faint /is it more common if the colors are not so bright?Good for a collector who doesn,t have a harlequin I guess love to look at it and say I got one.

  2. Those are beautiful gems! I do have a few harlequin patterned gems, but nothing in that dark a body color and a little less bright, judging from the pictures. I have my best luck in getting a harlequin when I cut Mintabie stones, but then I’ve cut 20 from Mintabie to every 1 from the Ridge. Again, you have made me very envious of you and your opals! I know if I were to ever get to Lightning Ridge I would probably never leave….. I am an Opalaholic!

  3. I have an opal that might be what I think its a pin fire Harlequin and was wondering if there was any way I could share a short video and ask your expert opinion?


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