Opal stud earrings are fascinating and beautiful stones, but shopping for them can be confusing. What is the difference in opal jewelry between boulders, doublets and triplets? Is a milky light stone more valuable than a dark green one? What colors should I be looking for? Here are some tips when choosing an opal:
Australian opal is generally the best and where most of the world's opal supply comes from. This is a good place to start and worth asking.
Boulder, or solid, opal is the rarest or most expensive. Sometimes called black opal, you will recognize its boulder opal because it will be a solid stone with no backing. You may need to ask if the stone is set.
Do the 360 test. You want the color saturation to stand out from every angle you look at it.
Look for warm colors. A higher quality opal has reds and yellows that appear beneath the surface and add depth to the stone. Do the 360° test and look for the reds and yellows.
Personal preference. Shades of green and blue are more about personal preference and don't affect the value as much.
Doublets have a line down the middle where the opal is stuck to another material, but if the stone is set you may have to ask if it is a doublet or a boulder. They are less expensive than boulders and use less opal, but are a great choice for your collection. Most of the opal you will see in fine opal jewelry will be doublets.
Triplets are doublets with a piece of clear material over the top of the opal. The cheapest option in opal jewelry.