Opal Jewelry 101: Uncovering 2024’s Best 9 Stores, Facts & More!

a woman holding stunning opal jewelry, the opal's iridescent colors shimmering in the light.

As we step into the enchanting world of opal jewelry in 2024, prepare to be captivated by the mesmerizing play of colors and the rich history behind these precious gemstones. In this comprehensive article, we’ll take you on a journey through the opal jewelry universe, uncovering fascinating facts, exploring the best online stores, and going into the lasting allure of these iridescent treasures.

So, let’s embark on this exciting adventure and discover the latest trends, insights, and inspiration in the world of opal jewelry as of May 2024!

And if you’re interested in exploring gold and silver jewelry, read our guides.

several gold opal necklaces

Entering the Opal Jewelry Universe

Opal jewelry has long been admired for its unique beauty and captivating play of colors. These gemstones are formed from a combination of silica and water, creating a mesmerizing display of flashing colors that dance across the stone’s surface. Opals are found in various parts of the world, with Australia being the most significant producer, accounting for around 90% of the world’s supply.

When it comes to opal jewelry, there is a wide range of styles and designs. This jewelry can be incorporated into any wardrobe and occasion, from classic solitaire rings to bold statement necklaces. The versatility of opals allows them to be set in various metals, including gold, silver, and platinum, making them suitable for different budgets and preferences.

One of the most appealing aspects is its ability to showcase individual style and creativity. Each opal is unique, with its distinctive pattern and color play, ensuring that no two pieces are identical. This individuality has made opal jewelry increasingly popular among those seeking to express their style and stand out.

a man holding a large opal, its myriad colors reflecting interesting facts about opal jewelry.

Opal Jewelry Key Facts: May 2024

Opals are Australia’s national gemstone, which is fitting given that the country produces most of the world’s opals. More Key facts are:

  • The word “opal” is derived from the Greek word “opallios,” which means “to see a color change.”
  • Opals are often called the “Queen of Gems” due to their unique play of colors and the fact that they can display all the colors of the rainbow.
  • In ancient times, opals were believed to possess magical powers and were thought to bring good luck and protection to those who wore them.
  • The most valuable type of opal is the black opal, which displays a vivid play of colors against a dark background. These opals can be worth more than diamonds of the same size.
  • Opals are relatively soft gemstones, with a rating of 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. This means that they require special care to avoid scratches and damage.
  • The largest known opal in the world is the “Olympic Australis,” which weighs in at 17,000 carats and is valued at over $2 million.
  • Opal is the birthstone for October and is also traditionally given as a gift for the 14th wedding anniversaries.
  • In the Middle Ages, opals were believed to possess the powers of all gemstones because they displayed a wide range of colors.
  • NASA discovered opal deposits on Mars in 2008, suggesting that the planet may have once had significant amounts of water.

The Best 9 Opal Jewelry Online Stores

1. Kay Jewelers

Kay Jewelers offers a stunning selection of opal jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and earrings. With a wide range of styles and price points, Kay Jewelers is a go-to destination for those seeking high-quality opal pieces. Their collection features classic and modern designs, catering to various tastes and preferences.

2. Jared

Jared is another prominent online jewelry store that boasts an impressive array of opal jewelry. From delicate opal stud earrings to bold statement necklaces, Jared has something for everyone. Their user-friendly website makes browsing easy and finding the perfect opal piece to add to your collection.

3. Helzberg Diamonds

Helzberg Diamonds is a trusted name in the jewelry industry, and its opal collection does not disappoint. They offer a diverse range of opal rings, necklaces, and earrings, all crafted with the highest quality materials. Whether you’re looking for a simple opal solitaire or an intricately designed opal pendant, Helzberg Diamonds has you covered.

4. Blue Nile

Blue Nile is a well-known online jewelry retailer that offers a carefully curated selection of opal pieces. Their opal jewelry is known for its exceptional quality and attention to detail. Blue Nile’s collection is sure to impress, from elegant opal stud earrings to stunning opal and diamond rings.

5. James Allen

James Allen is another top contender in the online jewelry market, and their opal selection is no exception. They offer a range of opal rings, necklaces, and earrings, all featuring high-quality opals and expert craftsmanship. James Allen’s user-friendly website and 360-degree product viewing technology make it easy to find the perfect opal piece from the comfort of your own home.

6. Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth is known for its commitment to ethically sourced and eco-friendly jewelry, and its opal collection is no exception. They offer a beautiful selection of opal rings, necklaces, and earrings, all crafted with sustainably sourced materials. Brilliant Earth’s opal jewelry is perfect for those looking to make a responsible and stylish purchase.

7. Angara

Angara is a leading online jewelry store that offers various opal pieces. From classic opal stud earrings to unique opal and gemstone combinations, Angara’s collection has something for every taste and budget. Their user-friendly website and exceptional customer service make shopping for opal jewelry a breeze.

8. Zales

Zales is a well-established jewelry retailer with a solid online presence. Their opal collection includes a range of rings, necklaces, and earrings, all crafted with the highest quality materials. Zales’ opal jewelry is perfect for those seeking classic and timeless pieces to add to their collection.

9. Etsy

Etsy is a unique online marketplace that offers various handcrafted and vintage opal jewelry. From one-of-a-kind opal rings to unique opal and gemstone combinations, Etsy’s selection is perfect for those looking for something truly special. With a wide range of price points and styles, Etsy is a great destination for opal jewelry enthusiasts.

Honorable Mention: Lefkara Silver

Lefkara Silver, a renowned jewelry brand from Cyprus, has recently begun to explore the world of opal jewelry. Known for its exquisite silver craftsmanship, Lefkara Silver now incorporates opals into its designs, creating unique and stunning pieces that showcase the beauty of both silver and opal. Keep an eye on this brand as they expand their opal jewelry collection.

Time Traveling through Opal History

Opals have a rich and fascinating history that spans centuries and cultures. The earliest known opal artifacts date back to 4000 BC in Kenya, where opals were used as talismans and in burial rites. The ancient Greeks believed that opals were formed from the tears of Zeus, while the Romans associated opals with hope and purity.

In the Middle Ages, opals were believed to possess magical powers and were thought to bring good luck and protection to those who wore them. However, this perception changed in the 19th century when Sir Walter Scott’s novel “Anne of Geierstein” portrayed opals as unlucky. This negative association caused a decline in opal popularity for a time.

Despite this setback, opals regained popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. Opal jewelry from these eras is highly sought after by collectors today for its unique designs and craftsmanship.

In 1829, the discovery of precious opal in White Cliffs, New South Wales, Australia, increased opal mining and popularity. Today, Australia remains the primary source of opals, producing 90% of the world’s supply.

Throughout history, opals have been prized for their unique play of color and worn by royalty and celebrities alike. In recent years, opals have gained popularity as a birthstone for October and a symbol of creativity, inspiration, and individuality.

a woman appreciating a vintage opal brooch, her eyes reflecting the opal's vibrant colors.

Appreciating Vintage Opal Jewelry

Vintage opal jewelry has a unique charm and character that sets it apart from modern pieces. These treasures from the past often feature intricate designs, exceptional craftsmanship, and high-quality opals that are becoming increasingly rare.

When shopping for vintage opal jewelry, it’s essential to consider the era in which the piece was created. Each period has its distinct style and characteristics, as shown in the table below:

EraCharacteristics
Victorian (1837-1901)– Ornate, detailed designs
– Gold and silver settings
– Often featured opal in combination with other gemstones
Art Nouveau (1890-1910)– Naturalistic, flowing designs
– Opals often used as accent stones
– Enamel work and unique color combinations
Art Deco (1920-1930s)– Bold, oversized designs
– Opals are often combined with colorful gemstones
– Yellow and rose gold settings
Retro (1935-1950)– Bold, oversized designs
– Opals often combined with colorful gemstones
– Yellow and rose gold settings

When purchasing vintage opal jewelry, it’s crucial to ensure the piece is in good condition and properly cared for. Look for any signs of damage or repairs, and always purchase from a reputable seller.

Vintage opal jewelry is a beautiful addition to any collection and a wise investment. As opal mining becomes more complex and vintage pieces become rarer, the value of these unique treasures will likely continue to rise.

Exploring the Handmade Opal Jewelry

Dive into the mesmerizing world of handmade opal jewelry, where each piece is unique. Etsy, the global online marketplace, is a treasure trove for opal enthusiasts, offering a vast array of handcrafted opal jewelry. From delicate necklaces to bold statement rings, over 280,000 opal jewelry items are available on Etsy, catering to every style and budget.

The Hileman Collection, a renowned name in the opal jewelry industry, specializes in creating custom Australian opal jewelry. Their skilled artisans handcraft each piece, ensuring the highest quality and attention to detail. Opal inlay jewelry is their specialty, seamlessly incorporating the vibrant gemstone into various designs.

OpALS Jewels is another notable brand focusing on ethical and handmade opal jewelry. They take pride in using genuine opals sourced from responsible mining practices, creating stunning pieces that are both beautiful and sustainable.

Celebrating Birthdays with Opal Birthstone Jewelry

October babies have the privilege of calling opal their birthstone, and what better way to celebrate than with opal birthstone jewelry? Etsy is a go-to destination for finding unique and personalized opal birthstone pieces. From dainty opal stud earrings to elegant opal pendants, there’s something for every October birthday girl or boy.

Amazon.com also offers a wide selection of opal birthstone jewelry, with over 10,000 products. Whether you’re looking for a classic opal ring or a modern opal bracelet, Amazon has you covered.

Rogers and Hollands, a trusted name in the jewelry industry, features a dedicated section for October birthstone jewelry. Their collection includes exquisite opal rings, necklaces, and earrings, perfect for birthdays or any occasion.

James Allen, an online diamond and gemstone retailer, showcases a stunning array of opal birthstone jewelry. Their high-quality opals are set in beautifully crafted pieces, making them a cherished birthday gift for years.

a stylish man in a suit, an opal cufflink adding a touch of elegance to his fashion.

Opal Jewelry in Men’s Fashion

Men’s opal jewelry is gaining popularity, with more and more designers incorporating this captivating gemstone into their collections. Australian Opal Direct, a leading supplier of Australian opals, offers a range of jewelry designed for men. From opal cufflinks to opal tie pins, their pieces add a touch of sophistication and uniqueness to any man’s wardrobe.

FeatureAustralian Opal DirectEtsyAmazon
Product RangeSpecialized in men’s opal jewelryWide variety of men’s opal jewelryExtensive selection of men’s opal jewelry
Opal QualityHigh-quality Australian opalsVaries depending on the sellerVaries depending on the seller
CustomizationOffers custom opal jewelry for menSome sellers offer customizationLimited customization options
Price RangeHigher-end prices for premium opalsAffordable to high-end optionsAffordable to high-end options

Etsy and Amazon also offer a diverse selection of men’s opal jewelry, ranging from opal rings to bracelets. These online marketplaces cater to every man’s taste and budget with various styles and price points.

As opal continues to make waves in the men’s fashion world, more designers are expected to incorporate this mesmerizing gemstone into their collections, offering men a chance to express their style with a touch of opal magic.

Opal Jewelry in Women’s Wardrobe

Opal jewelry has become a staple in women’s wardrobes, with its mesmerizing play of colors and versatile styling options. Kay, a leading jewelry retailer, offers an extensive collection of opal jewelry featuring over 200 pieces ranging from delicate necklaces to stunning rings. Amazon.com also boasts an impressive selection of genuine opal jewelry for women, with thousands of products to choose from.

Jared, another prominent jewelry store, showcases various opal jewelry, including rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Their collection caters to different styles and budgets, making opal accessible to every woman. Kay’s opal necklace collection is particularly noteworthy, with over 50 designs highlighting the gemstone’s beauty.

The True Worth of Opal Jewelry

Opal is a highly valued gemstone, with prices varying based on color, pattern, and rarity. According to the International Gem Society, the most valuable opals are black opals, which can fetch prices up to $15,000 per carat for top-quality specimens. Boulder opals and crystal opals are also highly prized, with prices ranging from $50 to $3,000 per carat.

Several key factors, including the play of color, body tone, transparency, and pattern, determine the opal’s worth. Opals with a vivid play of color, dark body tone, and unique patterns command the highest prices. In 2023, the cost of opals is expected to remain stable, with a slight increase in demand for high-quality specimens.

a person carefully cleaning an opal ring, the gemstone gleaming brightly after the cleaning process.

The How-To of Opal Jewelry Cleaning

Proper care and cleaning are essential to maintain the beauty and longevity of opal jewelry. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recommends the following steps for cleaning opal jewelry:

Cleaning MethodInstructionsFrequency
Warm Water and Mild SoapGently scrub the opal with a soft brush, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry with a soft cloth.Every few weeks or as needed.
Ultrasonic CleanerNot recommended for most opals, as it can cause damage to the gemstone.N/A
Steam CleanerAvoid using steam cleaners on opal jewelry, as the heat and moisture can harm the gemstone.N/A

In addition to regular cleaning, it’s crucial to store opal jewelry properly to prevent damage. Keep opals away from heat sources and direct sunlight, as excessive heat can cause the gemstone to crack or fade. Store opal jewelry separately from other pieces to avoid scratches, and consider wrapping it in a soft cloth or storing it in a padded box.

Be mindful of the gemstone’s softness and sensitivity when wearing opal jewelry. Avoid exposing opals to harsh chemicals, such as perfumes, hairsprays, and household cleaners, as they can damage the stone’s surface. With proper care and cleaning, opal jewelry can remain a cherished and stunning addition to any woman’s wardrobe.

Inspiring Gift Ideas with Opal Jewelry

Opal jewelry is an unforgettable gift, whether celebrating a special occasion or expressing love and appreciation. The Knot, a leading wedding planning website, recommends Opal as a stunning choice for anniversary gifts, particularly for the 14th and 34th anniversaries. With its mesmerizing play of colors and unique patterns, opal jewelry will impress.

Etsy, the global online marketplace, is a treasure trove for opal jewelry gift ideas. Boasting over 280,000 opal jewelry items, Etsy offers a wide range of handcrafted and vintage pieces to suit every taste and budget. From delicate opal stud earrings to bold opal statement necklaces, there’s something for everyone on this platform.

Jared, a renowned jewelry retailer, features an extensive opal jewelry collection perfect for gifting. Their selection includes rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, all showcasing the beauty of opals. With over 200 opal jewelry items, Jared is a one-stop shop for all your opal gift needs.

Retailey, a popular gift guide website, has curated a list of 22 beautiful opal gifts for various occasions. From birthdays to anniversaries, their recommendations cover a wide range of opal jewelry styles and price points, making finding the perfect gift for your loved one more accessible.

Concluding our Opal Jewelry Exploration

Throughout this article, we’ve delved into the captivating world of opal jewelry, exploring its history, symbolism, and allure. We’ve discovered the best online stores for purchasing opal jewelry, including Kay, Helzberg Diamonds, and the previously mentioned Etsy and Jared. These retailers offer an extensive selection of opal pieces, catering to various styles and budgets.

We’ve also learned about opals’ rich history and symbolic meanings. From ancient civilizations to modern times, opals have been cherished for their beauty and are believed to possess protective and healing properties. The play of colors within an opal represents the ever-changing nature of life and the universe.

As we conclude our exploration of opal jewelry, we invite you to stay informed about the latest trends, offers, and buying guides by following our website, LefkaraSilver.com. Our team of jewelry experts is dedicated to providing valuable insights and recommendations to help you make informed decisions when shopping for opal jewelry and other exquisite pieces.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to elevate your jewelry collection with stunning opal pieces. Visit LefkaraSilver.com today and discover the perfect opal jewelry to suit your style and occasion. Stay tuned for more updates and exclusive offers!

This article was last updated in May 2024.

a person holding an opal pendant, their curious expression reflecting the frequently asked questions about opal jewelry.

Opal Jewelry FAQs

What Is Opal Jewelry?

Opal jewelry is any piece that features opal as the main gemstone. Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica known for its unique play-of-color phenomenon. Opal jewelry can include rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and other accessories, often set in gold, silver, or other precious metals. Opal is the birthstone for October and is traditionally given as a gift for the 14th wedding anniversaries.

How Is Opal Jewelry Made?

Opal jewelry is crafted by skilled artisans who carefully cut, shape, and polish the opal gemstones before setting them into jewelry pieces. The process begins with selecting high-quality opal rough, cut into desired shapes, such as cabochons or faceted stones. The cut opals are polished to enhance their play of color and then securely set into precious metal settings, often with the help of prongs, bezels, or other mounting techniques. Creating opal jewelry requires expertise and precision to showcase the gemstone’s beauty while ensuring its durability.

What Are The Different Types Of Opal Used In Jewelry?

There are several types of opal used in jewelry, each with its unique characteristics:

  1. White Opal: The most common type, with a white or light background and a play-of-color.
  2. Black Opal: Features a dark background, making the play of color more vivid and valuable.
  3. Fire Opal: Transparent to translucent with a yellow, orange, or red body color, sometimes without play-of-color.
  4. Boulder Opal: Formed in ironstone boulders, cut with the host rock as a natural backing.
  5. Crystal Opal: Transparent to semi-transparent with a clear background, allowing light to pass through.

Australia is the world’s primary source of opal, producing around 95% of the global supply.

What Makes Opal Jewelry Unique?

Opal jewelry is unique due to the gemstone’s exceptional play-of-color, which is the result of light diffracting through the microstructure of the opal. Each opal displays a one-of-a-kind pattern of flashing colors, making every piece of opal jewelry distinct. Additionally, opal is a relatively soft and delicate gemstone, with a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, requiring special care and attention. The combination of its visual appeal and inherent fragility makes opal jewelry truly special and cherished by those who wear it.

Where Can I Buy Authentic Opal Jewelry?

Authentic opal jewelry can be purchased from various sources, including:

  1. Reputable jewelry stores and brands specializing in opal or offering a wide range of gemstone jewelry.
  2. Online marketplaces like Etsy, which feature a vast selection of handcrafted and vintage opal pieces from independent artisans worldwide.
  3. Direct from opal miners and suppliers in Australia, who often have online stores or participate in international gem shows.
  4. Established auction houses that offer verified, high-quality opal jewelry pieces.

When buying opal jewelry, always research the seller’s reputation and ensure they provide certification or documentation of its authenticity and quality.

How To Identify Genuine Opal In Jewelry?

To identify genuine opal in jewelry, consider the following factors:

  1. Play-of-color: Authentic opal will display a vibrant, shifting play-of-color that appears to move as the angle of light changes.
  2. Background color: Genuine opal may have a white, black, or crystal background, depending on the type.
  3. Inclusions: Natural opal may have some inclusions or imperfections, while synthetic opal often appears too perfect.
  4. Weight: Real opal is relatively lightweight compared to its size, while imitations may feel heavier.
  5. Certification: Reputable sellers should provide certification or documentation verifying the opal’s authenticity.

If in doubt, consult a qualified gemologist or appraiser who can examine the opal jewelry and provide an expert opinion on its genuineness.

How To Style With Opal Jewelry?

Opal jewelry can be styled to suit different occasions and personal tastes. For a casual look, pair a simple opal pendant with a white t-shirt and jeans. To create a more elegant ensemble, wear an opal ring or earrings with a little black dress.

Opal jewelry also looks stunning when layered with other gemstone pieces, such as diamond or turquoise. When styling with opal, consider the color of your clothing and accessories to complement the gemstone’s unique play of color. Opal’s versatility makes it a perfect addition to any jewelry collection.

Opal jewelry comes in various designs to cater to different preferences. Some popular styles include:

  1. Opal doublets and triplets: These designs feature a thin layer of opal backed by a dark material (doublet) or sandwiched between a dark backing and a clear quartz or glass top (triplet) for added durability and visual appeal.
  2. Opal inlay jewelry: This technique involves setting opal pieces into a metal base, creating intricate patterns and designs.
  3. Opal cluster jewelry: Multiple opal stones are set together to create a stunning, eye-catching piece.
  4. Opal and diamond combinations: The pairing of opal with diamonds elevates the gemstone’s elegance and luxurious appearance.

Opal jewelry designs often showcase the gemstone’s unique play of color, making each piece a conversation starter.

What Are The Price Ranges For Opal Jewelry?

The price of opal jewelry can vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of opal, its quality, size, and the jewelry design itself. Here’s a general breakdown of opal jewelry price ranges:

  1. Low-end: Opal doublets, triplets, and small, lower-quality solid opals can cost between $20 to $200.
  2. Mid-range: Medium-sized, good-quality solid opals and opal jewelry pieces with intricate designs can range from $200 to $1,000.
  3. High-end: Large, top-quality black opals, boulder opals, and opal jewelry with diamonds or other precious gemstones can cost anywhere from $1,000 to tens of thousands of dollars or more.

The most expensive opal ever sold was the “Virgin Rainbow” opal, which fetched $1 million at auction in 2003.

What Are The Myths And Beliefs Associated With Opal Jewelry?

Opal has been the subject of various myths and beliefs throughout history. In ancient times, opal was believed to possess the powers of all gemstones due to its play of color. Some cultures associated opal with good luck, while others believed it could ward off evil and protect the wearer from disease. However, a novel published in 1829 portrayed opal as an unlucky stone, leading to a decline in opal popularity. This superstition has been largely debunked, and opal is now celebrated for its unique beauty and symbolism.

How Durable Is Opal Jewelry?

Opal is a relatively soft gemstone, ranking 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This means opal jewelry requires more care and attention than harder gemstones like diamonds or sapphires. Opal can be prone to scratching, cracking, or breaking if subjected to hard impacts or rough handling. However, opal jewelry can last for generations with proper care and maintenance. Opal doublets and triplets are more durable options for those seeking increased wearability.

How To Clean And Maintain Opal Jewelry?

To clean and maintain opal jewelry, follow these simple steps:

  1. Clean your opal jewelry gently with a soft brush and warm, soapy water. Avoid harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners, which can damage the opal.
  2. Pat the opal dry with a soft, lint-free cloth after cleaning. Do not use rough or abrasive materials.
  3. Store opal jewelry separately from other pieces to prevent scratching. Keep it in a soft pouch or padded box when not in use.
  4. Avoid exposing opal to extreme temperatures, sudden temperature changes, or prolonged sunlight, as these conditions can cause the gemstone to crack or fade.
  5. Remove opal jewelry before engaging in activities that may subject it to impact or exposure to chemicals, such as household cleaning or swimming.