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 Transparency

Opal may be anything from crystal clear to completely opaque. Depending on its transparency the term Crystal and Semi-crystal may be included in the variety name of an opal. These terms do only indicate the transparency of an opal. They do not refer to its structure since opal is near-amorphous and not crystalline. In crystalline materials the atoms are arranged in a regular, repeating, three-dimensional pattern. 

CRYSTAL OPALS

More or less TRANSPARENT opals.
Under spot light you should be able to read a text (black on white) through this kind of opal while it is lying directly on the text. This becomes increasingly difficult the less transparent the opal is but also the darker the body tone turns (e.g. Black Crystal Opal).
Transparent opals which are almost colourless are sometimes named Water Opals.

SEMI-CRYSTAL OPALS

This term usually applies to TRANSLUCENT Light Opals only.
These stones have a distinct cloudy appearance so that you are no longer able to read a text (black on white) through this kind of opal. However it should still be possible to discern the black text as an unreadable shadow.

Note: OPAQUE opals don't have a special, additional designation in their variety names.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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