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Opals are known for displaying the most vibrant array of every color on the spectrum, making them a popular choice for jewelry. As with most gems, not every opal is the same, and some are rarer than others. The rarest opal is the Black opal.

History Of The Black Opal

Black Opals are found almost exclusively in the Lightning Ridge region of New South Wales, Australia. They are characterized by their dark body color, ranging from dark gray to black. 

What makes black opals unique to their counterparts is their color. Often more vibrant than other opals, black opals are famous for how distinct their color shines. This is because black opals have a thin layer of opal on top of a dark background, which allows color to stand out.

How Are Black Opals Formed

The formation of black opals is a complex process that requires specific geological conditions. They are formed in seams and layers within sandstone or ironstone, where a combination of water and silica creates small opal spheres. 

Over time, these spheres grow and merge, forming a solid layer of opal. The dark background color of black opals is thought to be due to the presence of carbon and iron oxide in they rock in which they are formed. 

What Is The Rarest Opal

Due to their rarity, black opals are highly sought after and can command a very high price. The value of black opals is determined by several factors, including its body color, clarity, and size. 

The more intense and even the color, the more rare and valuable the opal is likely to be. 

Aurora Australis

One of the most famous black opals is the “Aurora Australis,” which was discovered in 1938 in Lightning Ridge. This opal is known for its stunning red and green play of color, and it is considered one of the most valuable black opals in the world. 

Royal One

Another famous black opal is the “Royal One,” which was discovered in 1977 and weighed over 300 carats. This opal is known for its intense blue and green colors and is extremely valuable.  

The Bottom Line

Due to their rarity and value, black opals are often treated with great care. While black opals are undoubtedly rare and valuable, they are also a testament to the natural beauty and diversity of the world’s geological formations. 


If you want to purchase an opal and have questions, speak to one of our experts. Our staff is all highly knowledgeable and read to help. Schedule your appointment today!

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