The challenge of how to value opal: Why can’t it be easy?

Let’s face it; it’s hard to value opal. Some days we all wish it were as easy as diamonds. Cut, colour, clarity and carat and viola – it is done. Yes, I know the experts will say that diamonds are a bit harder than that, but for the layperson – that is the basics.

In today’s video, Justin lays out the framework for why opals aren’t as simple as diamonds.

Opal has far more variables.

1. Lots of Patterns: Broadflash, Pinfire, Floral, Harlequin and many that defy naming!

2. Many types of Opal: Black, Semi-black, Crystal, White and Boulder are all found in Australia.

3. It’s pretty rare: Check out Justin’s map of where black opal is found compared to diamonds.

4. Not as many experienced and knowledgable opal lovers: it takes years of practice, and there is no standard course*

So what’s the good news?

There are two main pieces of good news on this front.

1. The Bodytone and Brightness scale

Initially developed by Anthony Smallwood and part of worldwide accepted nomenclature, our new easy to use body tone and brightness scale can help anyone become consistent in grading opal. This takes you some of the ways to understanding how opal is valued.

2. Education

You might have found us through Google, via Facebook or even Youtube, and I expect ALL of you have watched at least one of our videos at some stage. As you’ve probably guessed, we are passionate about educating everyone about opal and spreading the word on this amazing natural stone. Along with this blog, our Facebook and Pinterest pages and my random Instagram account, we hope to bring the world of opal to as many people as possible who in turn will do the same. By watching, learning and buying opal, a body of knowledge is slowly built up, which helps you understand the nature and value of the opal.

We can’t promise miracles – or that there will be a silver bullet on exactly how to value opal anytime soon. Still, we are so enjoying the journey with you all, listening and taking your feedback so that we can deliver the types of information you want to hear to help you learn and grow within the world of opal.

We love hearing your feedback, so if you think we need to cover – or revisit, drop us an email or comment below. You know we love to answer questions!

* The exception is Anthony Smallwood’s excellent Gemmological Association of Australia course on opal.

2 thoughts on “The challenge of how to value opal: Why can’t it be easy?”

  1. I would like to thank Justin for all the help he has given me in the last few years about my Opal. I have finished a few great pieces and they are very happy with them. He took time with me and I am thankful.

    • HI Michael Thank you for the kind words I am sorry it has taken so long to reply.
      I am glad I can help you become better at what you do. 🙂


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