A unique gemstone - its crystals are spherical, and can form a natural diffraction grating- which means it can break up light into its component colours - it can show any colour of the spectrum. The stronger the colour-play, the more valuable the stone. Regarded by some as unlucky, and by others as lucky, opal brings joy  and spontaneity, and enhances health generally, by strengthening the will to live

Crystal or 

Water Opal

Jelly Opal

Sugar-treated opal

Boulder Opal

Opal Triplet

Once again, there is much confusion about the different types of  opal, known variously as white opal, water or crystal opal, black opal, jelly opal, wood opal and fire opal.




Opal triplets, as their name suggests, are made up of 3 layers. Only the thin middle layer is real opal, the top being usually clear quartz and the bottom layer black onyx.  Since there is only a thin layer of real opal, they are much less valuable than solid opals, although as always, large ones are worth much more than small ones. It is also possible to come across doublets, which consist of 2 layers, with the layer of opal on the top. These look much more natural and are more valuable, size for size, than triplets, but the layer of exposed opal can chip quite easily if it is thin. It is best set in earrings or pendants, as in a ring it does not wear very well.

Solid opals                        Fire opals and opals with fire - more confusion. "Fire" refers to the play of different colours that a good opal displays. The stronger the colour, the better. Reds are more rare  and add value to the stone, whereas it can be completely without fire andOpal perfume bottle/ pendant 75 with chain therefore worthless. A fire opal is something rather different. There is a particular kind of opal found in Mexico that has an orange body colour. It may not exhibit any colour play at all, but if it is relatively flawless it will usually be facetted, and quite valuable. Byezantium does not have any fire opal at present, but we can probably get some if you are interested. 

White opal is probably the kind you see most often, in ordinary high street jewellers. It has a white body colour, although if you look through it at a bright light it will look yellow/orange. Its value depends on the strength of its colour play, its size and flawlessness, and the charm of a good opal- the patterns the different colours form, and the way they shift as the stone is turned. No two opals are exactly alike

Over the last few years synthetic opal has become quite common - it is made in laboratories, and marketed as 'created opal', lab opal, opalite, opaline, or other similar names that make it sound like the real thing. Some are passed off as natural opals, and sometimes sellers are genuinely fooled, as they can sometimes be quite convincing. If the body colour is altered, they are usually quite obvious - pinks and blues are a complete giveaway. Usually the fire colours are intense, and quite uniformly patterned. Smaller synthetic opals, especially if well mounted in gold, can be quite difficult to tell apart from natural ones. Indeed, being chemically similar or the same as natural opal, it is, I think, not clear whether under British law it is an offence to describe them as being opal. In our opinion, synthetic opal should never be passed of as natural, and although we prefer only to sell natural ones, we have some synthetics, always clearly marked as such.

Byzantium always has some good quality opal as it is our speciality - please visit the shop to see what is in stock, from silver and opal mosaic to the finest solid opal set in gold.


In the Click here to go to the Byzantium Jewellery home page shop we have silver and Opal:
necklaces - pendants - studs -
in gold and Opal:
brooches - earrings - necklaces - pendants - rings -
Please click to the left to see them