Opal is one of the most commonly known gemstones for its amazing characteristics and brilliant color. However, these stones can vary in terms of their color and quality. Each gem can differ noticeably just like finger prints. There are some crucial aspects that determine the quality of the stone. These include the color, the pattern and the clarity. The background color and play of colors are considered in color while arrangement of these colors is considered in pattern. In clarity, the transparency and quantity of inclusion is considered.
Let us discuss these factors in detail so that you get a valuable insight into the quality of the stone.
1 - Color-
It is important to understand that the hues of opal gemstone beads can vary across the range of the spectrum. At times, it might display a single color, sometimes, multiple colors and sometimes all the colors in a rainbow. Along with the background color, it might even display a play of color. The background color is also known as body color, and it is caused due to the suspension of impurities in the silica spheres.
In fact, the classification of opal is made on the basis of background colors. Some of these colors are more prized than the others. Some buyers are also known to favor black background color because it stands out in a dark background. In addition to that, the play of color is also significant in determining the appearance. Regardless the color or the combination, the play of color should be vivid.
2 - Pattern-
The exact arrangement of the play of color in opal is the color. It can take many forms. Closely arranged patches are more preferable over tiny color patches. Moreover, when the colors are bright, the stone becomes valuable. In addition to that, it is also crucial to check the extinction of dead spots while evaluating the pattern. Dead spot is referred to a particular area in gem where no play of color appears and there is visibility of only the background color.
3 - Clarity-
Clarity is the degree of transparency and the clarity can range from transparent to opaque. Different types of opal have different levels of clarities. In crystal opals, transparency is preferred while in black opal, an opaque background is preferable. As an individual type of opal, each displays the best background. However, if the background is cloudy or milky, the value of the stone is lowered. The gem becomes less attractive and might signal lack of appropriate stability.
There are lots of characteristics in clarity that greatly affect the value of the stone. Opal can have fractures, pits and other blemishes in surfaces. Moreover, it might often contain the fragments of its host rock. Lack of moisture can result in the development of cracks and resemble the web of a spider.
These are top three common factors considered for determining the quality. The other factors include cut, carat weight and the assembled opals, which are the doublet and triplet. Knowing these things can help you in a proper buying decision.