What Is An Opal?

Opals are primarily found in the Australian outback and are formed when rain gets trapped in the ground then evaporates, leaving silica deposits in between sedimentary rock layers. These microscopic pieces of silica create the rainbow-like colors in precious opals (called the “play-of-color”) and the size and placement is what determines the stone’s quality and gives each opal unique, one-of-a-kind colors. The word “opal” is said to come from the Sanskrit upala meaning “precious stone”, and later the Greek opallios, “to see a change in color.” There’s a wide range of opal types, ranging from nearly translucent crystal opals to almost black. The majority opal engagement rings have a base that is colorless to medium grey. Fire opals, sometimes called Mexican fire opals, are transparent to translucent and have warm colors of yellow, orange, and red, while Peruvian or blue opal come in shades of blue green. Black opals are the darkest and most rare of all opals. Due to it’s magical glow, opals have been steeped in mystery dating back to the middle ages. Opals are said to boost creativity and symbolize fidelity. They are the October birthstone.

Is An Opal Engagement Ring Right For You?

Dreamy and ethereal, no other stone is quite like an opal. Opal engagement rings tends to look bohemian and alternative, though some designs skew vintage-inspired. As beautiful as opal engagement rings are, they’re very fragile and temperamental. We rarely recommend them unless you fully understand that they require extreme levels of caution and care, you cannot wear it every day, and the chances of the opal eventually breaking or just losing its luster is very high. Watch the video to learn more about your options for an opal engagement ring.

 

Browse Opal Engagement Rings

See some of the rings we’ve designed using opals to get inspired.

Opal Pros and Cons

Pros

  • No other gemstone has the distinct kaleidoscopic play-of-color that opals have

Cons

  • Not as durable or hard as diamonds, moissanite, sapphires, rubies, emeralds or morganite
  • Gemstone durability is rated from 1-10 on the Mohs Scale of hardness, opals are a 5.5 – 6
  • Because of their softness, opals require extreme care because of their tendency to chip, scratch and crack
  • Opals run the unique risk of crazing if they get too dry, their appearance dulls and looks like glass

Who Is An Opal Engagement Ring Right For?

If you want an otherworldly, bohemian engagement ring then opals are a great choice. They’re rainbow-like colors cannot be found in any other stone. Unfortunately, opals are not a durable stone choice. They are definitely not for you if you lead an active lifestyle, work with your hands, or are rough on your jewelry. Opal engagement rings are not even a good choice if you don’t work with your hands. The level of care and caution needed to maintain an opal are just not realistic for most people. Opals may be a good choice for an engagement ring that you only wear on special occasions.

Additional Resources

7 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy an Engagement Ring

Become an expert with our free guide.

 

Engagement Ring Trends to Avoid

You can create a unique ring without falling victim to these unconventional trendy materials.

Alternative Engagement Rings

Opal rings tend to have a non traditional vibe. If you like opals, browse other alternative rings.

Ready to Start Designing?

We can work with you in-person at our studio or set up a video call to help you take the first step toward designing a ring. Design consultations are complementary and we’ll give you a quick call before your meeting to make sure we can help you.