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Unveiling the Mystique of Opals: A Gemstone Born of Fire and Light

What are Opals?

Opals, with their ethereal play of colours, have always fascinated me. Revered for their mystical allure, these gems are as enigmatic as they are beautiful. Opals are not just gemstones; they are pieces of art crafted by nature, each telling a unique story of creation.

When embarking into the world of gemstones, one inevitably ponders, ‘What is Opal?’

Exploring the Enchantment of Opals.

Opals, often called the "queen of gems," are renowned for their mesmerizing play of colours, known as opalescence. This unique optical phenomenon is caused by the diffraction of light through the silica spheres that make up the stone. The result is a stunning display of colours that change and shift as the stone is moved. 

What Makes Opals Special?

Opals are known for their unique play of colours, caused by the diffraction of light as it passes through the silica spheres that make up the stone. This play of colours gives opals a mesmerising and almost magical appearance, making them highly sought after by collectors and jewellery enthusiasts alike.

What is Opal Made Of?

Opal is composed of silica and water. It is formed when silica-rich water seeps into crevices in rocks, where it slowly evaporates, leaving behind silica deposits. Over time, these deposits harden to form opal. 

What is Australian Opal and why is it only found in Australia? 

Opals are found in other parts of the world, but Australia is known for producing some of the finest opals. This is because Australia has the right geological conditions for opal formation, including the presence of silica-rich rocks and a dry climate that allows for the slow evaporation of water, which is necessary for opal formation. As AHW Studio is based in Sydney, we have access to a huge range of Australian Opals. Our bestselling QUARRY pendant features a stunning sea-green Australian Opal.

What is the Rarest Colour of Opal?

The rarest and most valuable colour of opal is red. Red opals are highly prized for their intense and vibrant colour, caused by the presence of small traces of iron oxide.

What is Opal in Triplet Form?

A triplet opal is similar to a doublet opal but has an additional layer of clear quartz or glass on top. This protects the delicate opal layer and can enhance its durability. Triplet opals are often more affordable than solid opals but may not be as valuable.

How Do You Tell if an Opal is Real? What is in Opal to make it real?

There are several ways to tell if an opal is real. One way is to look at the play of colours. Real opals will display a vibrant and iridescent play of colours, while fake opals may appear dull or cloudy. Another way is to look at the pattern of colours. Real opals will have a unique and intricate pattern of colours, while fake opals may have a more uniform or repetitive pattern.

What is Opal in Doublet Form?

A doublet opal is created by attaching a thin layer of precious opal to a backing material, often a dark base. This enhances the play of colours and can make the opal appear more vibrant. Doublet opals are usually more affordable than solid opals.

Is Opal Worth More Than Gold?

Opals can be worth more than gold, depending on their quality and rarity. High-quality opals with vibrant colours and unique patterns can command a high price in the market, sometimes even higher than the price of gold per gram.

What Should I Know About Opal Jewellery at AHW Studio? 

AHW Studio is based in Sydney, The Rocks, Australia. The best opals in the world are located within The Rocks district, featuring ultimate rarities like Black Opal from Lightning Ridge, to sublime White Opal in Cooper Pedy. We offer a variety of Opal inset within our PENDANTS and RINGS, meticulously held within Silver & Gold and vintage watch mechanisms.

What is Opal History and Mythology like?

Opals have been revered and celebrated in various cultures throughout history. The ancient Romans believed that opals were a symbol of hope and purity, while the ancient Greeks associated them with love and passion. In Australian Aboriginal mythology, opals are believed to have been created when the rainbow touched the earth, leaving behind its vibrant colours. In recent history, opal has been seen as a sign of bad luck! (But that is up to the wearer to believe...)

What is Opal Mining and Production like?

Opals are mined in various parts of the world, but Australia is the largest producer of opals, particularly black opals from Lightning Ridge and white opals from Coober Pedy. Opal mining is a challenging and labour-intensive process, often requiring miners to dig deep underground to extract the precious gems.

What is Opal Care and Maintenance like?

Opals are relatively soft compared to other gemstones, so they require gentle care to maintain their beauty. It is recommended to avoid exposing opals to extreme heat or direct sunlight, as this can cause them to lose their play of colours. To clean opals, use a soft, damp cloth and avoid harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners.


Opals are more than just gemstones; they are a testament to the unpredictable engineering of the natural world. Their play of rainbow colours has captivated people for centuries, making them one of the most intriguing and unique gemstones. Whether worn as jewellery or admired for their natural beauty, opals continue to enchant and inspire all who behold them.