Opals are dazzling gemstones, available in a vibrant mix of colors, but are they the right stone for your engagement ring? Let’s discuss why selecting a black opal as the center stone for your engagement ring is the right choice?
What Is Opal and “Black Opal”?
Opal is a natural silica gemstone, formed as most gemstones do when water runs down the earth and steeps into crevasses in the rock. Mining opal reveals its allure and beauty, usually reflecting blocks of different colors, making them perfect for use in jewelry.
Australia mines over 95% of the world’s opal for jewelry, naturally making the Australian opal the leading choice if you are looking for authentic opal gemstones. Opals are known for their kaleidoscope of colors, usually ranging from translucent white, gray, red, yellow, and green to darker tones of blue, magenta, and black. This intense variety also makes each opal one of a kind! (No two opals are the same).
You will often hear of white opal, gray opal, or "black opal." These colors usually refer to the background color of the opal stone, the host rock within which the beautiful colors are displayed. You can use a grading scale to measure the opal's body tone; for instance, black opals usually lie on the N1-N4 spectrum.
What Makes Black Opal Stand Out?
Black Opal was named “The Mother Of All Gemstones” by Shakespeare, and rightfully so! It is one of the rarest varieties of opal found and is specifically spread around the town of Lightning Ridge in Australia.
These are some unique features consistently found among black opals that make them stand out. If you look at a gemstone as you move it around, you may notice a fiery flash of color reflected off the surface. Thus optical interaction is called the "play of color." Gemstones are known for their unique and vibrant play of color, usually showcased in green, blue, yellow, magenta, and the ever so rare, red.
Black opals have a much more vibrant play of color. Their black background lays the perfect canvas for these colors to accentuate and exude a more sophisticated spectrum. Compare them to a white opal, and the play of color will never be as exuberant or captivating to the eye. This, along with their exceptional rarity, makes them incredibly valuable and perfect for use in engagement rings! After all, your engagement ring has to be special!
Why Choose An Opal Engagement Ring? Pros and Cons
These gorgeous gemstones would look picture perfect when set into an engagement ring, but are they worth it? Here is a list of pros and cons you can weigh out, and we leave the final verdict to you!
One of the most significant advantages of getting a black opal engagement ring is its uniqueness; since you will be wed to your one and only, it makes sense to have something unique to symbolize your love! Many people tend to choose black opal rings for this very same reason.
And contrary to what you might know, opals are much rarer than diamonds, but they are not as expensive. So if you are on a budget, an opal engagement ring can prove to be a useful option.
At the same time, black opal rings are incredibly stunning to look at. If you’ve ever held one under the sun, you would understand what it means. Traditional diamond rings are boring and nothing we haven't seen before, but the fiery play of color opal demonstrates, is simply unmatched.
Opals are also naturally lustrous and do not diminish in their glow when you touch them, and if properly taken care of, they are quite durable and will last you a lifetime.
The only con of getting a black opal ring is that these gemstones are quite softer than diamonds. Opals need to be handled with care and kept far away from harsh cleaning agents, or they may get damaged. But on the bright side, if you take care of them, they are durable and can easily become future heirlooms!
Factors To Consider When Choosing The Perfect Opal Ring?
If you have chosen to go with an opal engagement ring, you have made an excellent choice by opting for a unique engagement ring! But there are many factors you must first consider when you choose the perfect opal ring.
The cut of your opal should be so that it creates the most vibrant color and is polished for a mirror finish. A good cutter must use his intuition to get the best results.
Naturally, opals have an irregular surface and are made into symmetric oval-cut gemstones; free-form gemstones are also available for more exotic jewelry designs. Choose the cut that will suit your engagement ring style the most; after all, you will be wearing it forever, so choose wisely!
The cabochon refers to the dome-like surface of the opal. You should know that opals with higher domed surfaces are known to be more vulnerable to damage if they are struck. Instead, you should go for a medium or low cabochon.
Play of Color
The next thing you should look for is the play of color. The right opal, particularly a black opal, will offer a brilliant flash of colors when light passes through. See how much play of color is present compared to the dark background and look for the ranges and patterns. It all comes down to your own unique taste.
Black Opal Ring Setting Styles
Australian black opal is an incredibly versatile gemstone but to make the best of these; you want to pick a ring style that best reflects your individual taste. You should also know that some ring setting styles will better protect your opal than others. We will discuss some popular ring setting styles below:
One of the most common setting styles for your ring will be the prong setting. You may have often seen a ring with the center gripping the stone in place with 4 metal pins surrounding it almost like a claw; this is a prong setting in its simplest form. The prong setting is meant to showcase your opal more clearly, hiding very little and allowing maximum light to enter through and refract through the opal, increasing its brilliance. Moreover, since such rings use less metal, they are more affordable than bezel set rings.
The drawback of having a prong set ring is that this style is more prone to damage; the opal is more exposed in the open and has a higher chance of being damaged if not carefully used. Moreover, the claws of the prong can loosen over time as well. In some cases, the wearer might lose their central gemstone without even realizing it.
A bezel setting is known as the most protective setting style for hard gemstones. In this setting type, a stone is completely wrapped in metal in a way that only the top surface of the set stone is exposed in the open. Since the bezel encloses the gem from the sides, you will find that it is well protected from damage or cracking and is much easier to clean since it is unlikely to trap dust.
However, it is not a suitable choice for opal as opal is a ‘soft’ gemstone and the bezel setting requires hammering which is not possible with opal. Gluing the black opal on bezel setting is the only way which is not durable. Not to forget, as bezel setting encloses the gem from all sides, lesser light will enter or refract through the stone, diminishing its brilliance.
In short, a prong setting will always be more secure and durable for your black opal ring and won’t reduce the charm of the stone and overall appeal of your unique engagement ring.
How To Care For A Black Opal Ring?
If you have heard that opal rings don’t last or are prone to damage, that's because the owner was negligent in taking care of their jewelry. You will be investing a lot into your engagement ring, so we hope it stays with you forever. To do that, you simply must take care of your opal diamond ring. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Remember to clean your opal rings at least 1x each month to remove any built-up dirt or debris from the surface. Use a slightly moistened microfiber jewelry cloth to clean the surface very gently. Yes, it’s that easy to clean an opal ring.
- Try to avoid low humidity or very high temperature since opal might crack in these conditions.
- When storing your diamond or gold opal ring (if in a low humidity environment), place your opal in cotton wool and add a few drops of water to prevent the stone from cracking.
The Wind Opal - Get Your Premium Quality Black Opal Engagement Ring
The Wind Opal is one of America’s leading luxury jewelry brands providing its clients with unique, one-of-a-kind opal jewelry. The website offers a wide range of brilliant, carefully crafted opal engagement ring designs, meant to adorn the hands of those who wish to preserve their love! You want Lightning Ridge black opal jewelry, a fire opal ring or Australian black opal earrings, Wind Opal has it all.
Wind Opals rings are designed with passion and love, using 100% naturally occurring gemstone to fill their centers. Unlike most jewelers who use low-quality of gemstones to maxim their profit, we hand pick opals and gemstones from our very own opal cutter and use them to design some of the best opal rings you may come across. Since, there is no middleman to have an extra cut of price; the savings are passed to our lovely buyers.