Black Ring with Opal

The opal is one of the most fascinating gemstones in the world. Alluring and mysterious, it is known as ‘The Queen of Gems’.

Interestingly, the color reflection in one opal can differ vastly from the next, ranging from green and blue to orange and blood red. While the crux of this article is centered around a ring set with black opal, we will be discussing other varieties of opals as well. As they say, the bigger picture is the better picture.

James St. John, CC BY 2.0 | Wikimedia Commons

What is Opal?

The iridescent, luxurious fire inside of an opal comes from deep inside of the gem and breathes life into the spirit of the opal. The iridescent luster within an opal is formed when rainwater soaks into underground rock formations. When there is a lack of rainwater, silica forms between sedimentary rock layers, and this is where opals are born.

Danmekis, CC BY-SA 3.0 | Wikimedia Commons

Opal Color

The most common type of opal is the fire opal. A fire opal is formed when silica grows in a specific grid-like pattern. The colors are formed when silica particles form in different sizes. Fire opals generally have three base colors: crystal opal, black opal, and white opal. The patterns inside of the opal are called ‘flash’.

Black opals are the most expensive and rarest of the color varieties, but other varieties are no less beautiful. The biggest price indicator is the fire and color in the opal as a crystal or white opal can be more expensive than a black opal that doesn’t have good color.

14K yellow gold opal oval and diamond birthstone ring by James Allen

Opal Mines

While opals are mined all over the world in the United States, Mexico, Ethiopia, and Africa, Australia is particularly famous for its opals. Interestingly, although unhelpfully, there are also opals on Mars.

Opal Symbolism


Unfortunately, the Mohs scale is not kind to opals as they only measure between 5.5 and 6.5. We, therefore, strongly advise that you opt for an engagement ring setting that protects the opal. Furthermore, much like pearl, opal can dry out, especially when exposed to heat. They also tend to be sensitive to chemicals, so it is best not to wear them in a pool or while cleaning.

Slovakiaopal, CC BY 4.0 | Wikimedia Commons

Doublets and Triplets

At times, the opal layer in sediment is too thin to be cut and set on its own. In a case like this, quartz or glass is placed on top of the opal to make it a bit bigger and to protect it. This set is called a doublet. Other times, there is a quartz or glass top and a stone bottom. This is called a triplet. The bottom stone is often dark, most commonly an onyx. But this seems to be a more modern occurrence. Vintage opal engagement rings usually have solid opals. Solid opals tend to carry a higher value than triplets or doublets. That being said, as long as the status of doublet or triplet is disclosed you can be comfortable buying the vintage opal ring of your dreams.

Greek Legend

In Ancient Greece, it was believed that the gift of prophecy was given by an opal. Later, in Europe, the opal was associated with fidelity and truth.

14K yellow gold opal and diamond beaded double halo ring by James Allen

Magical Symbolism

Magical powers are strongly associated with opals, most especially the power to disappear and reappear. This belief comes from how the colors disappear and appear in the opal.

Choosing an Opal Ring

Crystal and white opal are brilliant choices, but black opal is quite rare, and by extension, expensive. If you are hunting for vintage opal rings you are more likely to find ones with multi and solitaire gemstones. The opal and diamond industry are great friends as diamonds and opals are often set together. A popular combination in engagement rings from the Victorian era is opals and garnets.

Dpulitzer, CC BY-SA 4.0 | Wikimedia Commons

Find The Perfect Opal Engagement Rings

Opal engagement rings can be something rare and beautiful, but due to their position on the Mohs scale they might not be suited to daily wear. Furthermore, an Antique diamond cut is particularly sought after in certain circles. Their faceting is unique and the detail is exquisite. Adding an opal endows the ring with charm, sophistication, and glamour.

The Intricacies of Black Opal

The black opal has powerful Ancient Shamanistic origins. Much of the symbolism of a black opal lies in the darkness that is broken by incorporated light hues. Security and confidence comes from black opal due to its link to the Crown Chakra. In the past, a diamond was not quite as valuable as the opal because of the energy associated with opals.

The unique appearance of rainbows in an opal used to be called the ‘Tears of the Gods’. It was believed that this brilliance served to magnify your thoughts and emotions. An opal takes any negative feelings and turns them positive. Black opal is especially good at doing this. Strength and confidence are encouraged by this stone. Its Shaministic value lies in its position as a journey stone. It is specifically useful in dream recall and other spiritual work.

Black opal is great for anyone taking on a new venture and who needs to take risks as it gives you strength and faith in yourself. It also helps to release fear. Perhaps even more importantly, black opal helps to boost your confidence.

18K white gold opal and diamond ring by Blue Nile

Discover Your Perfect Opal Ring

If you are looking for an enhanced sense of luxury, strength, and glamour then an opal ring is just the thing you need. An opal ring is also a unique gemstone known for its elegance. The Australian opal is a particularly popular option, especially for rings. Some of the best quality opal is sourced from Australia. Furthermore, the mining practices in Australia are ethical, making the Australian opal even more popular with modern jewelers.

There is an endless variety of colors, settings, designs, styles, and shapes that are available for an opal ring. Whether you are looking for something understated or an actual statement piece, you’re sure to find something to suit your individual tastes. We have included a lot of information in this article to help you choose the right opal ring for you, or the right opal engagement ring for your partner.

James St. John, CC BY 2.0 | Wikimedia Commons

What Types of Opals are Good for Rings?

It may be helpful in your shopping adventure to learn about the different types of opals available to you. There are four types of opals that we will discuss here in a bit more detail; namely, Boulder, black, crystal, and white opals. If you are looking for a Lightning Ridge black opal but are concerned about the price, then we suggest the triplet and doublet options. However, bear in mind that triplet opal rings cannot be submerged in water!

White Opal rings are popular for silver and gold rings as the bright metal adds to the gem’s brilliance. White opal plays with color like only this unique gemstone can. This milky stone has a unique sparkle that shines in hues of green, yellow, blue, and pink, earning it a reputation as the most feminine opal variety.

Crystal Opals sport translucent or transparent bodies with beautiful iridescent color highlights like neon blue and green. They can also sport black body tones, but are not the same as a solid black opal. Silver, white gold and yellow gold are all popular options for crystal opal sets.

Boulder Opal is quite similar to triplet opal in that it has a rock base. The main difference is that the base stone is not dark or black, it is usually a brown-reddish ironstone.

Lastly, we have the Black Opal. Lightning Ridge black opals are particularly popular and expensive. They shine with vivid green, blue, and red hues. A black opal ring can be a once in a lifetime purchase due to their rarity.

James St. John, CC BY 2.0 | Wikimedia Commons

What Is The Best Shape For an Opal Ring?

Opals are cut into a number of shapes, but the most popular are round or oval gem cuts. This makes opal rings often stand out from other jewelry. These extraordinary and precious pieces are not faceted – they have no angles – like other traditional cabochon cut jewels. Faithfulness to this selling point and the cabochon setting gives jewelers an edge on the stone that allows for a secure setting. The shine and color of the gems are also enhanced.

An opal can also be cut in a heart, marquise, or pear shape in addition to the usual round or oval cuts. Marquise and pear cuts are most often used as accents and tend to be smaller than others. Pairing an opal with other gemstones in an engagement ring is very popular, but we want to stress, again, that an opal ring is not well-suited to everyday wear due to its softness.

In recent years, freeform opals have started rising in popularity. The shape of these stones is more organic and symmetry is rare. Lightning Ridge black opal and Boulder opal are often sold as freeforms. Carat weight can be maximized and inclusions can be removed at the same time. This only adds to the uniqueness of the opal and highlights its natural beauty. Regardless of which shape you choose for your opal ring, this gemstone is certain to never disappoint.

14K white gold oval opal and diamond accent birthstone ring by James Allen

What Color Opal Is Best For An Engagement Ring?

The best color for your opal ring entirely depends on your individual tastes. Paying a high price for a black opal ring will only make sense if you actually like a black opal. Luckily, there is a large variety of colors to choose from besides black opal, and it can be paired with other gemstones like diamonds as well.

Rare varieties, like rainbow opals and black opals, will usually be more expensive than other opals. Australian opals also carry a higher price than opals sourced from elsewhere in the world. However, as briefly mentioned before, the color of the opal has the most significant impact on price. So, when you shop for an opal ring remember to discuss your preferences and expectations with sellers. Also, decide on a setting. Platinum is very expensive, yellow and white gold is less expensive but also soft, and silver is a popular option as well.

The material that the opal ring set is made of will also have an impact on how durable the piece is. Be careful with adding something as hard as a diamond to the setting as it might damage your opal over time because they are so soft.

The range of colors that an opal comes in can also have an effect on the material that you choose for the setting. Yellow and white gold are popular with many colors, and if you want a completely black opal ring then you have the option of something like tungsten as well.

James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Opal Rings For All Occasions

While opal engagement rings are beautiful and timeless, we believe that any occasion is a good occasion for an opal ring. They bring luck, purity and hope. Your sense of community can be strengthened with the presence of an opal ring in your collection. An opal also symbolizes faithfulness and commitment will increase your passion when worn. A vintage opal engagement ring is crafted with care and expertise and will anchor the wearer to the Earth around them.

Some opal and black opal rings may feature a halo of diamonds or other stones. They can be set in platinum or various shades of gold. Once purchased, it is important that you care for your opal so that it can last a lifetime. We hope that we have excited you about adding an opal or black opal ring to your collection and that you understand how important choosing the right material for the setting is.


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