With so many spectacular colours and patterns available, it can seem like there are endless types of Australian opals out there. But the gemstone can be broken down into three basic forms – solid opals, doublets and triplets.
Solid opals are gemstones that have come straight from the ground as a rough piece of opal, which has then been cut, shaped and polished to perfection. There are three main types of solid opals – black opal, white/light or crystal opal, and boulder opal.
Found only in Australia, mainly at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, this rare and magnificent gemstone is the world's most valuable form of opal, and is ablaze with rich and vibrant colour set against a dark body tone.
Found mainly at Coober Pedy and Mintabie in South Australia and White Cliffs in New South Wales, this type of opal features a brilliant spectrum of colour set in a white, light toned or crystal stone.
Found in Western Queensland, this beautiful variety of opal is similar in appearance to black opal but forms naturally on a brown-red coloured ironstone or ‘boulder’, which is usually included in the cut gemstone.
Doublet and triplet opals are known as composite stones, and comprise a slice of 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, which is usually a layer of dark non-precious opal known as ‘potch’. A doublet is similar to a triplet but without a quartz capping.
These stones are not classified as manmade but are sold worldwide as an affordable, acceptable and popular alternative to black opal.
To explore our full range of solid opals, doublets and triplets, visit the Black Star Opal opal jewellery and gemstone collection.
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