What patterns are in opal?

An opals pattern has a massive impact on its value. Some opal patterns are common and don’t add much value whereas rare patterns send it through the roof.

After my video on valuing opal, you guys had a lot of questions on the importance of pattern in opal.

  • Which patterns are common in opal?
  • Are some patterns worth more?
  • Why do some patterns look so different on each opal?
  • Can an opal have more than one pattern?

Today I’ll show you how you can learn to identify opal patterns by showing you some of our stock. We’ll look at some of the most known patterns, as well as some rare beauties that you may have heard of before.

What patterns can you find in opal?

Moss Pattern

This opal has sold but has gorgeous Moss pattern
A Moss pattern opal

Also called Grass or Sheen Pattern, Moss is one of the most common opal patterns.

It’s most commonly found in seam opal from the Grawin Opal Fields in Lightning Ridge, Australia.

You can see where it gets its name; the pattern resembles grassy areas or river moss and can look like it’s even a little furry inside!

Flagstone Pattern

Flagstone pattern can confuse people as it will look different from one opal to the next. This happens because of the size of the flakes of color; they may be large or small and fit together like puzzle pieces or cobblestone streets—the flakes of the pattern set beside each other in an uneven jigsaw of color.

To add to the confusion with Flagstone and other patterns, it can also have a 3D effect where the flakes will stack on top of one another. This can look like an entirely different pattern and is one of my favorite effects in opal.

Pin-fire Pattern

Small flakes of pattern stacked very closely together are commonly referred to as Pin-fire pattern.

Opals with Pin-fire pattern look like they have a cluster of stars trapped inside.

When looked at under a microscope, it is similar to Flagstone pattern but the flakes are very small and tightly stacked against one another.

Striated Pattern

The Striated pattern is a rare pattern to find in opal.

I’ve only seen a handful of great examples of this pattern, one being the infamous Rainbow Serpent; a gem that was mined by a friend in Lightning Ridge, Australia.

Opals with Striated pattern have lines of colorful pattern running down the gem. Sometimes, these can look so perfect they resemble a synthetic opal!

Oh, there’s more…

On top of all this, you can get more than one pattern in opal. When this happens, you should pick out the most prominent one or two patterns in the gem and name your stone accordingly. For example, if you have an opal with Flagstone and Rolling Ribbon patterns, you would call it Flagstone Ribbon pattern.

I hope this has been helpful to you. If you still have questions, let me know in the comments!

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