Opal Patterns

Posted by Mark Jones on

Often called a "Living Stone" you can see why!

There is nothing more captivating then moving around a super bright opal fresh out of the wall of the mine and seeing all the different patterns and colours dancing around inside the gemstone.

In this section we are going to show some examples of different opal patterns you may come across. Some of these are quite common and others are very rare.  Normally rarity will demand a high price.  However with opal this isn’t always the case.  Opal is a vanity stone and it's value is determined by how much someone is prepared to pay for it's aesthetic appeal.  A bright opal with stunning pin-fire flashes may have greater appeal to someone than a opal with a rarer pattern that is not as bright. 

That’s what we love about opal, each one is different and beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Broad Flash Pattern - this type of opal, as the name describes, can throw large, brilliant colours across the face of the stone when rocked back and forth.  The colour may then disappear until the stone is moved again, hence the flash. This type of stone is popular when making rings as it will flash colours with the movement of ones hands.

 

 Broad Flash Pattern

 

Rolling Flash Pattern – a display of colours that moves across the stone as the stone is rolled around.

 

Rolling Flash Pattern

 

Pin Fire Pattern - this type of opal has many tiny coloured pin like dots throughout the stone.  As the opal is moved around, the pin like flashes of colour come and go. This opal is suited to almost any type of jewellery and is one of my favourite patterns.

 

Pin Fire Pattern

 

Ribbon Pattern - as the name suggests this opal can have bands of colour in a ribbon pattern which may be parallel to each other or side by side. If the stone has multiple bright colours across the whole face the stone is likely to be in high demand.

 

Ribbon Pattern

 

Palette Pattern - when bright blotchy colours are spread over the surface of the stone it can take on the appearance of a painter’s palette.  These stones make great jewellery settings.

 

 Palette Pattern

 

Chinese Writing Pattern - has flashes of colour that look like Chinese writing.

 

Chinese Writing Pattern

 

Harlequin Pattern - commonly known among the old miners as tartan shirt opal, Harlequin is the most sought after pattern in opal. A true harlequin pattern is a repeating pattern of contracting diamonds or elongated squares.  It is an extremely rare pattern which demands a premium price. I personally have never seen one in the flesh but would love to find one, cut it and polish it... along with every other miner and cutter!

 

Harlequin Pattern

 

Straw Pattern - this opal has flashes of colour resembling flattened pieces of straw criss crossing each other.

 

Straw Pattern

 

Asteria Pattern - characterised by a pattern that radiates out from a centre nucleus. This pattern is very rare and highly sort after. This is one of my favorite patterns.

 

Asteria Pattern

 

Feather Pattern -  this opal has an array of soft feathers that fan out over the surface of the stone. It is mainly found in parcels from the Grawin fields, Lightning Ridge.

 

Feather Pattern

 

Clover Leaf Pattern - another rare pattern resembling a clover leaf, sometimes repeating itself.

 

Clover Leaf

 

Chaff Pattern - chaff is like straws of hay, and this is seen across a play of colour like lines or scratches.

 

Chaff Pattern

 If you would like to see some of our finished opal jewellery or just more information on all things opal click on the link below.

www.OpalQuest.com

Cheers Mark.


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