An opal ring can be the perfect choice for the special lady in your life. Some discerning women appreciate a ring that can be seen from far away, but they probably also want a ring that is both lightweight and stunning. Bigger is not always better, and simple and subdued might not fit the bill either. Ideally, you want something between those two extremes, something which is beautiful, lightweight and won’t break the bank either. An opal engagement ring ticks all of these boxes so it could be the perfect choice for the love of your life.
Fun fact, opals are the national gemstone of Australia, which is not surprising when you consider that between 95-97% of all opals originate from the island nation. Gemstone opals form when rainfall dissolves the silica deposits which are present in the iron ore. This silica-rich water concentrates the silica in certain locations, and as the water evaporates, it leaves the silica behind which hardens into unique formations of gemstone, which we call opals.
The Evolution of the Engagement Ring
Is pretty well known that Diamonds only became the engagement ring of choice after a remarkably successful marketing campaign by DeBeers. Before this, a variety of coloured gemstones were commonplace for engagement rings, including opal engagement rings.
Historically speaking, opals have been believed to be the source of great luck, which is attributed to the fact that they possess all the powers of the gemstones reflected in the colour of the opal. Opals saw a marked decrease in popularity after the publication of a Walter Scott story, in this book, a protagonist wore an enchanted opal necklace when unfortunately turned the character into ash once it came into contact with water. Not long after this, opals began to lose their market share, no longer being the number one choice for wedding and engagement rings, the diamond was now king. Fast forward to today and finding the perfect vintage opal engagement ring has become a fashionable pursuit, with good cause, they can be remarkably attractive.
For your consideration, we have brought together a collection of antique and modern opal rings, which we hope will inspire your hunt for the perfect opal ring.
Opals are one the most fragile types of gemstone, they are sensitive to both changes in humidity, shocks and rapid changes in temperature. They are of course stunning, but delicate, and prone to damage if not cared for correctly. It’s still possible to find vintage and antique opal engagement rings, which have stood the test of time and have been passed down from generation to generation.
An opal engagement ring is gaining favour these days, and is now the sixth most popular type of engagement ring, with ruby, emerald, tanzanite, sapphire and of course diamond all ahead. Black opals are the biggest selling type, but boulder opals are not far behind and have an undeniable appeal to buyers and collectors alike.
One of the most alluring features of an opal is the shapes and iridescent colours available. Light diffracts on the opals surface, creating a rainbow of colours, this effect is called opalizing. This effect ensures that no two opals are ever alike and it’s a major appeal of the gemstone, coupled with unique forms and shapes available, it produces a very appealing ring. For these reasons, the gem is perfect for couples looking for a unique and different sort of engagement ring, one which won’t cost a fortune but is capable of creating a mesmerising effect.
The cost of an Opal is largely dictated by its unique colour and form. The price difference between one opal and another can be substantial, and is largely determined by the pieces unique features and less so the carat size of the gem. Opals lend themselves very well to custom pieces of jewellery, allowing for the artistic desires of the jeweller to be expressed easily, assuring the buyer of a perfect engagement, wedding or promise ring.
If you’ve set your heart on buying an opal engagement ring, then you might want to prioritise choosing the type and colour of the Opal as a priority. As with most precious gemstones, you’ll want to carefully consider the type of stone used, the size of the gem, the patterns present and the brilliance of the stone.
The value of opals is largely determined by the type of stone and the size. A black opal is by far the most expensive sort, while a crystal opal is middle of the road price and lastly white opals are the least expensive.
The larger the variety of colours present in an opal helps to determine the price of the gem. A gem which is dominated by fire colours has a greater intrinsic value, the most sought-after colours in order are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
As with most gems, for example, diamonds, opals weight and size is measured in carats. If all other gem qualities are the same, then the larger opal will be more the more valuable option.
The unique combinations of patterns, colours and brilliance have a distinct effect on the perceived value of a gem. Broad patterns and large flashes are alluring and affect the cost of the opal, similarly, smaller patterns such as pinfire are also popular options.
A clear and brilliant gem with vibrant clear colours is far more valuable than an opaque gem with muddied colours. It’s understandable that a dull subdued stone would be less sought after and value when compared to a vibrant colourful stone.
Everyone women are unique and special in their own way, so it seems apt that an engagement ring should match. There are uncountable jewellery options available for someone looking to buy a piece for their partner, so it’s important to consider the personality of the recipient, matching the piece to the style, taste, budget and needs. At the end of the day, you’ll know your fiancé better than anyone else.
If you do decide to buy an expensive opal engagement ring, one of your first priorities should have the ring appraised and insured. The ring's value will likely go up over time, as long as it’s cared for carefully and does not suffer any damage. In the worst case scenario of your ring being stolen or lost, the insurance coverage will at least go some way to reducing the distress caused by such an incident.
Try to be realistic about your engagement ring budget and try not to overstretch your finances, weddings are expensive events and it’s better to start your married life together without excessive debt. If you want to, you can always upgrade the engagement ring after a number of years, it could make for a wonderfully unique tenth wedding anniversary.
Happy engagement ring hunting!