Worth Value of Black Opal in the Market

Black opal's value varies; ensure authenticity.

Understanding the value of the mesmerizing black opal, often considered a gemstone marvel, can be challenging when you first venture to buy black opal. Arguably the most prized and cherished of all opals, black opal is gem-grade opal that comes in a magical array of radiant hues against a very dark grey/black body color. However, as enchanting as its beauty is, determining its worth is a tad more complex.

Before you dive into how much black opal costs, it's important to remember that its valuation is decided by numerous factors. These not only include attributes of the opal itself but also the location where it's being sold—a high-end boutique has different overhead costs compared to a market stall, impacting the final price. And the high-end opal shop is much more likely to have the selection of opal that you are wanting. Top quality black opals with red are not easy to find. They sell quickly. Often a shop needs to put a higher price on the black opal because the have the experience to know how quickly it is likely to sell and apart from not displaying it, a high price is the only way a  shop owner has to control the sale.   

In terms of black opal, the most recognized and highly regarded of these stones are found in Australia—specifically from the Lightning Ridge Black opal deposits. These opals outclass their counterparts not because they are rare (in which they are) but because they are the most compelling of stones, making them more expensive than most other opals.

What sets the Lightning Ridge Black opal apart and adds to its exorbitant value are eight key attributes. Understanding these elements can help you appreciate why this opal variety is so treasured and pricey.

Firstly, thickness matters.  It needs thickness for strength and when they precious opal runs deep then this will help it to be brighter.  

Secondly, the shape of the opal affects its value. Generally, opals that are oval with get a higher price. Random and unusual shapes, although unique can reduce the value as it adds one more layer of complexity towards selling it. 

At the heart of the valuation of black opal is the darkness of the gem. Black opals are distinguished by a base tone that ranges from dark grey to jet black. However the blackness must not come at a cost of the brightness. Image a really colourful painting painted on a black canvas. We want balance. Sometimes the darkest of black opals are too black and not bright enough. 

Also critical to the value of black opal is the brightness of the play-of-colour. It refers to the spectral hues that flash and dance as the gemstone is moved. A black opal radiating strong and vivid colors red, blue, green, and more can be a real spectacle.

Speaking of colors, red plays a pivotal role. In black opals, the presence of a strong red color is a key value point. This is because, among the spectral hues that an opal can display, red is the rarest.

The sixth determining factor is the opal's pattern. Patterns like Harlequin, Flagstone, or Ribbon are considered rare, and if a black opal exhibits one of these patterns, it can increase its worth enormously. Treat the pattern like a painting. If there is something about the pattern that makes it special, compelling and unique, then this is what will make it more value above all others. 

Brightness is the most important aspect. Black opals should readily catch the eye and offer an intensely bright display of color. Given this, the brighter the opal, the better its quality and, ultimately, its value.

Finally, the overall appeal plays a part too. This includes aspects such as its shape, size, symmetry and even the consistency of pattern across the opal. The more aesthetically pleasing the opal is, the more valuable it becomes.

Another crucial point to consider while buying black opals is their rarity. Fine quality black opals aren’t easily available, which further adds to their price. Remember, with black opals, supply and demand play a significant role. The lower the supply, the higher the price.

With these factors in mind, the answer to "how much is black opal" remains largely dependent on the characteristics of the individual opal and where you opt to make your purchase.

That said, realistically, a  high-quality black opal with cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 per carat.  and in some rare cases up to $10,000 per carat. Collectible pieces from Lightning Ridge, exhibiting strong color play and red fire, can command prices exceeding $20,000 per carat but this is very rare. 

Most black opal is not high enough quality to reach the prices above. Most are simply not bright enough. 

While determining the value of a black opal may seem daunting, appreciating its distinct characteristics and understanding the factors that impact its price makes the process easier.

I recommend my customers keep it simple. If the can image 100 people viewing the opals what would their reaction be like. The best and most valuable opals make people go Wow! Just make sure you are looking at a solid opal and not a doublet, triplet or synthetic opal. 

So, whether you wish to buy black opal for its investment potential, its stunning appearance or its unique character, you now have a deeper understanding of its value. Just remember, the allure of a black opal lies not only in its visual charm but also in the mysteries it holds within.

Here's other why they are so expensive from Business Insider, you can read it here.