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How to Buy Australian Opals

    • 1). Educate yourself about opals. Study the different colors and types of opals that are available. Read about how opals are valued so that you can make an informed purchasing decision.

    • 2). Decide what type of opal you want to purchase. There are four different types of Australian opals. The black Australian opal is the rarest and most expensive of the Australian opals. They are regarded by many as the finest opals in the world. Boulder opals are related to black opals and exhibit brilliant coloration. Boulder opals form on an ironstone backing. Because of the ironstone material present, these opals are usually less expensive than black opals. The white opal, as the name implies, has a pale, milky white body and is generally less colorful and less expensive than black or boulder opals because of the pale body coloration. Crystal opals are opals with a transparent to translucent body. This type of opal can be valuable if it has good coloration.

    • 3). Choose an opal that is personally appealing to you. Although quality and value should be weighed, you also want to enjoy your investment, so picking an opal that you love is another consideration.

    • 4). Decide what kind of setting you will be using for your opal before finalizing your opal purchase. If you're a tiny person with small, slender hands, purchasing a large opal that will require a large setting might look out of proportion.

    • 5). Give consideration to the brilliance of the stone. Brilliant opals, no matter what the body color, are more expensive. Opals within the "bright" class can still be beautiful and will cost less. Also consider the color of the opal you're considering. Red stones are the most expensive. Orange, yellow and green are in the mid-price range, and blue-colored opals are the least expensive because they are the most common.

    • 6). Hold the stone up to a bright light and inspect it. Faults and inclusion are often inherent to opals and will not necessarily diminish their value. If you see a crack, do not purchase the opal. Cracks in opals make the opal nearly worthless. Ask the dealer about any faults or inclusions the opal may have even if you can't see any upon inspection. An ethical seller will be honest with you about any blemishes the stone may have.

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