Opal Ring Buying Guide

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Opal Ring Buying Guide

Opal rings offer consumers flexibility in the number of different social venues where they can wear the rings. People who want to buy this versatile type of ring should consider ring finger size and the materials used to construct the band. However, the most important opal ring purchasing considerations are opal classification, types of opals, and the top opal features.


Opal Classifications

Opal falls into four general classifications that define the gem's origin. Natural opal is a gemstone that retains its original state. Jewellers only modify the appearance of the gemstone stone via cutting and polishing. Treated opal includes extraneous materials not endemic to the gemstone. The foreign material can include a dye to darken the opal's surface or a synthetic utilised to stabilise a crack in the gemstone. With material grown in a laboratory, synthetic opals possess a mineral content that equals natural opals. Opal simulates are man-generated materials, such as plastic, that present seemingly authentic colours.


Gem Opals

By far the most popular opal for setting in rings, the gem opal presents spectral colours that alter whenever the handler changes viewing angles. You can choose amongst three sub-types of gem opals, including white, black, and opalised black material. Gem opals possess opaque surfaces that flash different colours. Less common and more costly, black opals project fire like colours against a black background. Opalised organic material can include any combination of wood, plant stem, bone, and shell that petrify under the right conditions.


Secondary Types of Opals

People shopping for opal rings on limited budgets can save some money by considering the other four primary types of opals for their rings. Each of the other four opal options present different characteristics that broaden the gemstone's appeal.


Opal Type



Second most costly opal.


Flashes of layered colours.


Natural dark background.

Ironstone host rock matrix.

Preferred in ring settings for reflective quality.



Red or orange surface colour.

Highest quality.

Fiery looking surface.



No spectral colour play.

Most affordable opal.


Although gem opals are the highest quality and thus most expensive type of opal, crystal opals offer consumers the most versatility. Crystal opal rings present panache in upscale settings and refined elegance in more casual social venues.


Additional Opal Ring Buying Factors

The type of materials used to construct the opal ring band helps determine its quality. Sterling silver and unrefined gold bands accentuate an opal's visual appeal. Consumers must also find the right size ring band to ensure comfort. Buyer should also consider body tone, which refers to opal surface colour, from very light to very dark. Dark body tone opals present spectral colours more vividly than lighter body tone opals. Also, consider an opal's brilliance as this defines the sparkle and clarity of the opal, as viewed from the top of the gemstone.

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