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Opal Valuing

Color
The beauty of an opal is in its color. There are three important considerations: the background color of the opal (black, boulder, white), the variety of colors visible (a stone with a full spectrum of colors is more valuable than an opal with one color; red colors are rarer than others) and movement of color (as the opal is rotated, color movement is very eye-catching and valued).

Clarity
A clear face on an opal allows its rich colors to show through. An opal with inclusions (flaws) or opaque patches will not be as valuable as a clear stone because these flows detract from the opal's color. An opal's color is highly valued when it is brilliant and has bold, rich tones, when it has depth into the stone and when it is consistent from different angles.

Carat Weight
Quality opals command a price per carat comparable to diamonds.

Cut
Cutting and polishing opals is an art; a good cutter can greatly increase the value of an opal. A cabochon (rounded surface) allows more surface area on an opal. Many Queensland boulder opals are cut free form.
 
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