Where does Black Opal Come from And How is it Formed?

Opal is a semi-precious gemstone that comes in a lot of varieties. Each type of Opal is unique and beautiful in its own way and of course, serves different purposes by radiating powerful energies. One of its highly valuable varieties is a Black Opal and that is exactly what we’ll be talking about right here.

Just so you know Black Opal is a very rare variety which is why it is quite hard to find a genuine one. Anyway, let’s see what exactly makes a Black Opal the rarest and most valuable of them all!

What is a Black Opal?

Contrary to its name, a Black Opal is not completely black at all. In fact, an Opal that exhibits a completely black appearance doesn’t look beautiful, to begin with. Moreover, it is nowhere near ‘valuable’ and you may as well consider it useless. 

black opal

A Black Opal is formed by the evaporation of a solution of silicon dioxide and water from the cracks of sandstone. The color play of a Black Opal is absolutely unparalleled and that is particularly because of its dark backing often referred to as ‘Potch’. 

In simpler words, a Black Opal stands out of all due to its dark background that accentuates the beauty of the rainbow colors in the stone and makes them more vivid and appealing to the eyes. 

The vibrant hues of the stone make it extremely mesmerizing. In fact, a Black Opal is primarily sought after by many people due to its wonderful play of colors.

So the question is where does the stone derive its black color from? And why is it different from a usual Opal? 

Well, the Black Opals contain carbon and iron oxide traces in their composition. These traces cause the stone to appear darker than an ordinary Opal. But there’s a lot more to it and you’ll find that out as you continue reading.

Before that, you should know that a darker-colored Opal fetches a higher value than the one with a light black or greyish shade. So the darker the backdrop of an Opal, the more expensive it’s gonna be. 

Anyway, let’s see where this wonderful stone is found exactly. 

Where is Black Opal found?

Black Opal is an extremely rare gemstone particularly because it is not found in many places in the world. In fact, forget about ‘many places’, there is only one place on Earth that produces the gorgeous Black Opal stones. 

Black Opal can only be found in Australia. Australian Opals are famous the world over and when it comes to Black Opals, the Lightning Ridge in Australia is the only place that produces them. 

This semi-precious stone was found in New South Wales around the late 1800s. And over the years, it has gained immense value and popularity, mainly because of its stunning appearance and rarity. 

In recent years, Black Opal was also found at Mintabie, South Australia. However, the ethical mining of Black Opal is a challenge which is why it is rare and expensive. 

Black Opal reserves are limited and excessive/illegal mining will cause them to completely vanish from the face of Earth. This is yet another factor that adds immense value to this stone. 

Anyway, let’s move on to our next question and see how this unusual stone is formed. 

How is Black Opal formed?

Over 90% of the world’s Opals and a hundred percent of the Black Opals are from Australia. So logically speaking, there must be something particular about that land that produces these extremely rare stones. 

Anyway, if we talk about the chemical formation of this stone, it is formed by a combination of silicon dioxide and water, as mentioned earlier. The silica deposits from the Earth are carried in water throughout the cracks and openings in the Earth’s crust. 

Once the water evaporates, only the silica deposits are left behind. Lots of pressure and time result in the transformation of these deposits into a Black Opal stone. 

These stones get their signature black color due to the natural backing which is often dark in color. The darker background of the stone highlights the other colors of the spectrum in the Opal and results in an unrivaled color play of the stone. 

Is Black Opal more expensive than diamonds?

Well, it depends on the quality and rarity of your Black Opal stone. While of course, Black Opals are rarer than diamonds, they’re not always more expensive. Most diamonds will be priced higher than an Opal.

However, when talking about genuine high-quality Black Opals, they can cost you around $10k per carat. This is because authentic Black Opals are quite hard to find and mining them is never easy. 

But also keep in mind, Opals are very fragile as compared to diamonds which is why they’re not durable. Hence, prove not to be a great choice for jewelry.

Is Black Opal the rarest Opal?

Yes, Black Opal is an exceptionally beautiful and rare variety of Opal. It is only found in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, Australia. It is said that this place, in particular, has a special geological condition that produces this rare variety of Opal. It is quite hard to find and mine, therefore, it sure is the rarest type of Opal.

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