While diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies are among the more traditional gemstones loved up couples lean towards when selecting or designing an engagement ring, Australian opals are becoming increasingly popular for those wanting to add something a little different and unique to their proposal plans.
Known as 'The Queen of Gems', with their vivid colours, brilliant patterns and rainbow hues, Australian opals are without doubt among the most beautiful jewels in the world. And each opal is as individual and unique as you are - perfect for celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime romance!
So instead of the standard stones, is an opal actually suitable for an engagement ring and what special care does an opal ring need to ensure it lasts the tests of time (and your matrimony)?
A beautiful and colourful handcrafted gold opal engagement ring.
HOW DURABLE IS OPAL?
An aspect to consider when thinking of an opal engagement ring is the durability of the gemstone. While diamonds are renowned for their toughness, ranking at a 10 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness, in comparison opals are a 'softer' gemstone, coming in at a 5 or 6, about the same hardness as glass.
In no way does this mean opals will break or damage easily, but they do need a little TLC when worn, so if you're prone to being a little rough with your jewellery, an opal ring may not be ideal for you.
But good news! There are several methods for ensuring an opal will not easily crack in a ring, such as placing it into a bezel setting which offers more protection around the opal than a claw setting, and also surrounding it with other harder gemstones, such as diamonds, to create a barrier of sorts.
You can say 'I do!' with an opal engagement ring surrounded by diamonds.
TYPES OF OPAL FOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT RING
Another factor to consider is the type of opal you will choose for your opal engagement ring. Found only in Australia, mainly at Lightning Ridge in outback New South Wales, solid black opals are the most rare (and in our eyes also the most beautiful) type of opal gemstone available, they can also be the most expensive.
An affordable alternative to a black opal gemstone is a doublet opal, which has the appearance of a black opal but is a composite stone, meaning two layers - a slice of opal and a black backing made of a dark material such as opal potch - are sandwiched together. Doublets look just like black opals with rich and vivid colours and patterns, and are ideal to set in both yellow and white gold, or platinum if you prefer.
Please note: We advise against setting triplet opals into engagement rings, as they are much better suited for dress rings than everyday wear.
Other types of opals to consider are a crystal opals and white opals. Crystal opals feature a translucent, light body tone while white or light opals usually feature milky body tone. Both have a softer, more pastel range of colours than black opal. Crystal and white opals also look beautiful set in both yellow or white gold.
Boulder opal is another popular option for opal engagement rings, with this gemstone from Queensland loved for its rich colour and dark ironstone body tone.
A stunning handcrafted rose gold crystal opal engagement ring featuring a trio of diamonds on each shoulder.
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED - IT'S YOURS!
We have an extensive gold opal jewellery collection online at Black Star Opal including a range of opal rings suitable to be worn as engagement rings. All our opal jewellery over $150 attracts free shipping and spend over $1000 for free insurance, anywhere around the world.
Most gold opal rings can be resized several sizes smaller or bigger, so if you love an opal ring we can resize it for you. Simply let us know your ring size and we'll do the rest!