Black Opals: What Are They?

Also known as the ‘Queen of Gems,’ black opals are a rare prismatic stone, primarily from the small mining town of Lightning Ridge in North-South Wales, Australia. The rarity of the stone aids the glamourous price tag — jumping an average of 20% per year, but it’s the vibrant reflective colors that make it so coveted.

Non-crystalline silica dioxide and water are set into fossils called Nobbies and are then steamed and pressurized into the cracks of sandstone for millions of years. The layers of silica within the stone give it transparency and locks in impurities during this process, allowing light to refract. 

However, the potch in the black opal stone is what gives these opals their black or grey color. Potch is the base silica of these jewels and comes in colors black, white, or grey. The color is the base and is what makes an Opal precious.

How are Black Opals Graded?

Black Opals: What are they?

Black opals are graded by how dark they are with the darker giving a richer color prism — fire being the most expensive. However, their high silica content makes them very delicate and easily dulled in high heat. Many factors go into the price rating, but their prism — red, orange, green, and blue — is an excellent place to start when looking to invest.

In addition to the potch and prism of colors, they are graded on three other factors:

  • Pattern – Having a grading system of its own, a pattern is rated ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent.’ Each pattern carries distinct layering that comes in lines, bubbles, crosses, etc. The other two factors that come into play make a difference in how visible the patterns are.
  • Brilliance – This is an essential factor when pricing. The brilliance or dullness of stone affects how well it refracts light. No matter how many color prisms that the black opal has if it isn’t brilliant, it isn’t bounty. 
  • Transparency – Looking through a stone in light is how you view its transparency. Although these opals are black, their transparency can help you see the deeper regions of the stone’s color patterns. If a stone isn’t transparent enough, you’ll only get the surface color. Transparency can also aid the brilliance of these crystals but isn’t what makes one brilliant. 

How Expensive are Black Opals?

With Black opal being the most expensive of their kind, it is easy to assume you’ll have to break into the bank to pay for one. They are also rising in price as they become rarer. Furthermore, these stones are preferred when designing opal jewelry, looking stunning when set in white gold and platinum versus their lighter, opaque versions.

Also, due to its rarity, the value is broad. Therefore, it is hard to throw around numbers. The best way to find the answer to this is to talk to a trusted jeweler. However, what we discussed above gives you a baseline when looking to invest. Because just like diamonds and gold, they are an investment. 

Another vital factor when appraising black opal is their Cabochon. This is how domed they are versus flat — the flatter they are, the lower the cost, typically. When an opal is domed, it reflects light better and allows the colors to flash and roll from all angles, also known as play-of-color. 

Furthermore, a well-done cabochon jewel makes a perfect black opal engagement ring or black opal necklace charm.

What Do Black Opals Represent?

Depending on your beliefs and fears, it can represent the tears of Zeus or Death. However, this stone engages what you put into it. Outside of its beauty and rarity, it is a protective and enlightening stone that can dazzle your finger or aid spiritual growth. 

The Greeks thought it to carry the tears of Zeus due to its brilliance and prismatic coloring. The Aborigines believe that the colors were parts of the “Rainbow Serpent.” 

All opals, no matter the color, are the October birthstone and make great gifts, bringing good luck and emotional prosperity to the wearer. That is unless you believe in the Rainbow Serpent. 

Black Opal Attributes and Healing Properties

Although the Aborigines feared this stone, the black opal stone actually aids in guiding you through fear — personal fears, to be exact. Black and darker shade opals also protect through the sacral chakra and help heal reproductive stressors and emotions that can prevent us from accomplishing personal goals. 

By allowing you to work through emotional stressors, this stone opens our aura to new light. It works by alleviating emotional burdens and enhances moods. Furthermore, by allowing you to be more active with your own emotions, black opals will enable you to hold space for others, especially in a romantic way. In all this, it teaches you to take responsibility for your life so that you can move through inhibitions.

In the healing spectrum, these gems are said to relieve PMS symptoms, ease childbirth, strengthen memory — past lives and current — while also helping regulate blood sugar. However, crystals should not be used as an alternative to medications, but used with them to help lessen symptoms and rebalance energies. Always consult a doctor if you are not feeling well. 

Black Opal Color Pattern Properties 

The black opal color patterns aid in price, as we mentioned above. These color prisms also carry different healing properties. Let’s take a more in-depth look at what each one represents.

Red Pattern– Also known as Fire, it warms and energizes the body. It helps with intestinal irritation and calms abdominal cramping. Black fire opals can “awaken” inner personal power and release grief.

Orange Pattern – This color carries properties of fire opal with a sharper focus on blood and kidney purifying. Orange gems carry strong protective properties and can aid through dangerous situations, keeping you calm, and giving insight on how to manage. It helps stimulate sexual desire and organs and eases back pain associated with the kidneys or feminine reproductive system.

Green Pattern – Aiding relationships and dislocating bottled up emotional energy, Green prisms are excellent crystals for the emotional recovery process. It brings a sense of meaning to life and can push out unwanted and unbalanced energies from past lives. This stone is a great immunity builder and should be worn in public to protect against the flu or other contagions. It also is said to alleviate cold and flu symptoms.

Blue Pattern – This is a potent liver cleansing stone as well as an emotional cleanser. Using blue with a red or orange stone can eliminate emotional stressors associated with pst lives, as well. You might cry when meditating with this stone, but once the purging is complete, you will feel a sense of well being and confidence. It builds communication by using the etheric blueprint of your life to rid you of current ailments and insecurities.

Black Opal Meditation

When the black opal is used for meditation, it is common to place it on the third eye or heart. Make sure you are balanced as it can cause scattering. Using a balancing stone with this one can create mystic connections and help esoteric travel. It is also said to help identify infidelity in lovers. 

Throw the stone in a bag, and with intention, ask about your lover. If the stone dulls, you can assume that your partner or another is being unfaithful. Furthermore, by meditating with this crystal on your heart, you can challenge emotional imbalance and aid self-love, taking your abundance to new levels. 

What is Matrix Black Opal?

Matrix opal is one that has a host stone attached to it. The most commonly formed matrix is the Honduras Black Opal. The host stone is attached to the opal — in this case, basalt. Basalt is a black stone that the gem fills as it would the Nobbies or fossils. Basalt is porous, making it the perfect host for this formation. 

Furthermore, the basalt’s black color is the perfect host for giving the opal its black potch. Other host rocks like andesite and rhyolite are found in Erandique, Honduras, and outer villages. What makes this such a great option is the lower cost and treatment is not necessary. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking for the best opal earrings or want to clean your emotional and sexual stresses, the black opal stone is a glamourous and powerful option for your life. Moreover, it is an investment. The issue is its rarity.

You will come across some swindlers, so be cautious and try to follow some of the guidelines we came across here. Always look at the brilliance, transparency, and color patterns associated with the stone. Also, when searching for sellers and asking for photos, pay attention to the background of the picture. 

Do not be fooled by photoshop. Ask to have it in hand or next to the skin. This is the best way to see if a photo has been doctored. Skin is a specific tone no matter the color and will change oddly when tampered with. However, the best way to get the best black opal is to go directly to the source.