Beautiful Australian opal is one of the most versatile and sought after gemstones on earth. Each opal is cut and shaped by hand, and is completely unique. Therefore most opal jewellery is individually designed and styled, as opposed to mass produced gemstone jewellery that can all look the same and is not as inspirational as jewellery made with the Queen of Gems.
In 2022, with the past two years of isolating at home now behind us, Australian opal is the perfect 'good luck' gemstone to own and wear, with its colour, vibrancy and brilliance perfectly matched to this new era of enjoying life and social occasions once more.
Opal jewelry is so varied, unique and beautiful, its easy to find a special piece that will complement and reflect your individual tastes and style - Australian opal is as unique as you! But what's in store for opal jewellery in 2022 and what trends are we seeing in jewellery stores and online? Read on to find out.
Beautiful freeform shaped Australian doublet opals set into a white gold pendant setting with diamonds.
TREND 1: OPALS FOR EVERYONE
Opal jewellery can suit both men and women, but many males prefer to own and collect loose opal gemstones or purchase opal jewellery as a special gift for a loved one. That's not to say there aren't opal rings designed exclusively for the male hand, set in high quality gold and featuring masculine designs. In fact, the rainbow colouring of many opals is a key feature that attracts members of the LGBTQI+ community to this gemstone. It really is a gemstone that suits all genders, styles and tastes.
TREND 2: EXQUISITE BUT AFFORDABLE
With the cost of living rising like crazy lately, it could be easy to feel guilty about spending your hard earned dollars on a luxury item like a piece of jewellery. But with opal jewellery, there are affordable options when it comes to opal gemstones that look fantastic but won't break the bank - doublet opals and triplet opals.
Doublet and triplet opals are composite stones that comprise a slice of natural Australian opal layered with other materials to create the look of a natural solid black opal. A triplet is a thin slice of colourful light opal sandwiched between a clear domed quartz capping and a black backing, while a doublet is similar to a triplet but without a quartz capping.
Doublets and triplets are not classified as manmade but are sold worldwide as an affordable, acceptable and popular alternative to black opal. Set in beautiful sterling silver or gold plated sterling silver and you have a gorgeous piece of opal jewellery that doesn't have to cost you a fortune.
A stunning multi-coloured opal triplet set into a white gold decorative ring setting.
TREND 3: OPALS OF ALL SHAPES
Gaining popularity over the years, freeform opals have attracted a loyal following over the oval and round shapes that opal gemstones are usually cut into with varying cabochons (low, medium and high domed tops). That's not to say there is still not a place for these more traditionally shaped gemstones, which you will find in a wide range of opal jewellery including opal pendants, opal earrings and opal rings.
But shaping an opal to make the best of its size, pattern and play of colour can result in a very unique, bespoke gemstone or piece of jewellery, or an opal collector's prized specimen. One of the main benefits of a freeform shaped opal is that the gemstone can be set into a more contemporary setting, which can look truly spectacular.
Boulder opal from Queensland is typically the opal of choice for freeform shaped gemstones of this kind. Opal cutters follow the 'seam' or bar colour in the opal to try to maximise the more appealing colours. This also leads boulder opal to be left with an undulating (curvy or bumpy) surface, rather than be cut with a cabochon top.
Carved opals are another style of opal cutting that is also gaining popularity in opal jewellery. Carved opals come in a wide range of freeform shapes and recognisable figurines such as animals, insects, people, plants and flowers. These types of opals allow for the imagination to wander and create the most beautiful and bespoke opal jewellery pieces.