Opal characteristics Opal classification Types of opal Varieties of opal Body tone Transparency Play-of-colour Brightness Pattern Shape and face Origin


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Opal Lexicon

Opal Body Tone

The body tone of an opal (also termed base tone or background colour) refers to the relative darkness of the background which is contrasting with the opal's play-of-colour. It is assessed face-up while ignoring the play-of-colour and may range from N1 (jetblack) to N9 (white) as per AGIA body tone chart:

BLACK OPALS

Black Opals show a play-of-colour within or on a black body tone compliant with N1 to N4, when viewed face-up.

DARK OPALS

Dark Opals show a play-of-colour within or on a dark body tone compliant with N5 to N6, when viewed face-up (these are also known as Semi-black Opals).

LIGHT OPALS

Light Opals show a play-of-colour within or on a light body tone compliant with N7 to N9, when viewed face-up (the N9 category is also referred to as White Opal).

 

Opal body tone chart (approximation)

AGIA Body tone chart (approximation)

Note: Body tone is usually not applicable to almost colourless, transparent Crystal Opals (sometimes also termed Water Opals) since it would be completely affected by the colour of the surface on which it is examined (e.g. in front of a white or black background).
However dark coloured, transparent Crystal Opals may be graduated in the first approximation lying on a white sheet of paper which demonstrates the worst case.
 

 

 

 

 

 


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