We all love experiencing life to the full, and to be able to touch and hold an item before we buy it can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. According to experts, this is especially important to women shoppers.
But with online shopping fast-becoming the most popular way to purchase, many of us are willing to trade that touchy-feely buying experience for access to an astounding array of amazing goods from across the planet - and all at the click of a button.
To help you navigate the seemingly endless number of websites selling opals and opal jewellery, we've created a handy guide to buying Australia's national gemstone online with some great tips and advice for savvy shoppers.
1) Do your homework
As with man, not all online opal jewellery websites are created equal and it pays to shop around. Make sure you only buy from a reputable online retailer, preferably one that has a lot of experience in the opal industry – and if they’re a member of a gemmological or jewellery association, even better!
Personally, we are very proud to be a member of the Gemmological Association of Australia (GAA) and Jewellers Association of Australia, and also of our dedication to the opal industry for more than 45 years.
2) Too much choice is not a bad thing
It can be hard to find the ideal opal gemstone or piece of jewellery for you if there isn’t a great range to choose from, so look for shopping sites that offer a broad selection of high quality opal products.
Our website features gold, silver and gold-plated silver jewellery settings as well as all types of opals, from solid black Lightning Ridge stones to beautiful crystal pieces from Coober Pedy, as well as affordable doublet and triplet opals.
3) Look for secure shopping sites
When spending money on a luxury item it’s vital you trust the merchant you’re dealing with, and one key sign of a trustworthy online business is a guaranteed secure shopping experience.
4) Natural is best
On a recent trip to Bali we were dismayed to see manmade opal being misrepresented as natural opal. This is a growing problem for the Australian opal industry as synthetic stones are becoming increasingly available worldwide.
Again, only shop with a reputable business and be aware of what you are buying. Please note, doublet and triplet opals do not fall into this category as they contain real opal and are an affordable and acceptable alternative to natural black opal.
5) Prepare to be pleasantly surprised
What you see is not always what you get with opal and, unlike some other aspects of life, in this case it’s not a bad thing!
The gemstone’s ‘play-of-colour’ phenomenon means it’s virtually impossible to show all the colours and patterns of an opal through photography, so you may be pleasantly surprised when your opal contains different features than you first thought.
At Black Star Opal we try to capture the best possible photographic representation of the opal you’re purchasing, and we’ve even included short videos of our unset opals showing the stone from all angles.
If you'd like more tips on buying opal jewellery online contact us and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have.