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What is the Most Prized Feature of a White Opal?

You have your heart set on an estate opal ring or a vintage opal ring surrounded by diamonds.  To follow is information about this luxury stone, the white opal. The background of your white opal ring would be translucent white to gray in color that shows a play of color when tilted back and forth. Commercial grade opal will look “pale and cloudy


 yellow or brownish with faint, scattered play of color”. Their body color tone is white or very light and often causes the rest of the colors to appear less bright. The finer gemstone quality of white opals will display colors of milky bluish to greenish and sells for a much higher price than the commercial grade white opal. Because of the variety of white opals from commercial grade to gemstone quality, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1.00 dollar to several hundred dollars per carat.  White opals are more common than black or boulder opals. White opals, in fact-all opals, are made up of three to twenty percent water. 

Although the play of color can be affected by loss of water, it can be restored with a saturation of oil or water. Because opals are fragile, they are considered a luxury stone.  They are sensitive to accidental bumps or changes in temperate and are delicate for the jeweler to set.  They have a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness that ranges from 1 to 10.  Because they are fragile and take extra care, they are not a good every day stone to wear. If you are shopping for a less expensive opal then considering an estate white opal ring or a vintage opal ring would be a good choice.

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