Rough crystal opal

Rough crystal opal DEFAULT

An Introduction To Opal

Opal is actually found in several places across the globe, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras and Hungary – though the Hungarian opal is well and truly mined out.

Lightning Ridge is best known for its Black and Crystal Opal.

White Cliffs, west of Lightning Ridge in NSW, is famous for its white opal and although not much opal is coming out of White Cliffs now, it was at one time the world’s largest producer of opal. South Australian towns such as Coober Pedy, Andamooka and Mintabie are best known as producers of light and crystal opal.

And in western Queensland there a number of locations that produce boulder opal, in which the gem opal forms in cracks and cavities within brown ironstone boulders. Boulder opal can be very dramatic and beautiful.

Boulder Opal

Boulder Opal displaying striking broadflash pattern

Boulder Opal

Exquisite rare multi-colour Boulder Opal


Crystal Opals

FAQ: What is a crystal opal? What colour are crystal opals? Where are crystal opals mined? What is the value of a crystal opal?


The term “crystal opal” refers to any kind of opal (i.e. black opal, white opal, semi-black opal) which has a transparent, translucent, or semi-translucent body. This is also referred to as the “diaphaneity” of a stone. If light is able to pass through the stone, or you can see through an opal, then you are probably looking at a crystal opal. Crystal opals can display any colour of the spectrum in a beautiful play of colour.

However, boulder opals which have a layer of translucent opal are not referred to as crystal opals because of their opaque ironstone backing.

The translucence of a crystal opal often gives it a greater clarity and vibrancy of colour than opaque stones. Pale coloured crystal opals (white crystal opals) are generally more valuable than opaque white opals, and ‘black crystal opals’ can often have more beautiful colour than opaque black opals.

Crystal opals are generally cut in a standard oval shape if possible, however if the nature of the stone dictates, sometimes a freeform or teardrop shape is cut in order to maximise the size and carat weight of the stone. Crystal opals are also cut with a high cabochon if possible as it enhances the appearance of the colour.

Examples of Crystal Opal

Crystal Opal


Top quality crystal opal may fetch prices of up to AUD $2,500 per carat for a gem quality stone. The clarity and transparency of a crystal opal often enhances the appearance of the colour and therefore gives the stone a higher value than a standard opaque stone. Read more about valuation of opals.


Crystal opals are mined in South Australia and New South Wales, in the same places where black opals and white opals are found. White Cliffs in New South Wales is well known for yielding good quantities of crystal opal. Find out more about these places in our article on the Australian opal fields.

View our full current stock of Australian crystal opals

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Crystal Opal Rough

[category name=”Crystal Opal Rough”]

Crystal Opal Rough

Crystal opal rough is the natural form of opal extracted from a mine. Like all other opal rough it takes some cutting and polishing to highlight the play of color.

Most of the worlds precious rough opal come from Coober Pedy in South Australia. The name Coober Pedy is an aboriginal term for ‘white man down a hole’. This type of opal has a light body tone as opposed to black opal which has a dark or black body tone.

Crystal Opal Rough can be both translucent and opaque

Rough crystal opal is often milky white in appearance if it is opaque but if it is more translucent it is classified as crystal. As with all opal, the cutter just has to take a chance and make a cut to see whats there. All the time hoping not to cut across the face of the best part of the stone.

For this reason, the opal cutting process with crystal or white opal often starts with the grindstone which removes some of the rubbish first before attempting to chase the color. Although the milky white opal in itself isn’t considered precious, it has a wide appeal to many and has been used very successfully to make beads. In recent years it has become rarer like most opal and is in great demand.

Cutting and Polishing Rough Crystal Opal

Crystal opal rough undergoes the same cutting and polishing techniques as all other rough opals. General cutting is done with a diamond slicing machine and then shaping takes place on a diamond grinding wheel as the cutter chases the color The final part of the process is polishing. The opal cutter uses progressively finer sandpapers until right the end he changes to a leather wheel with Cerium Oxide to bring out the final polish.

A lot more information about the opal cutting procedure is found in our special section on opal cutting. The ‘opal for the ordinary bloke’ CD (now updated with the new title“Opal, An Australian Adventure” will give you over 30 years experience of the opal industry as well as some really good tips on how to save money on opal cutting machinery. This extensive eBook is available freely for visitors to the Opalmine site but we do appreciate your support with the purchase of rough opal as soon as you are ready to develop your hobby or business.

Some opal collectors like to keep the cut and polished opal as a specimen, while others much prefer to wear it in the form of jewelry.

How to Cut Gemstones - Opal Faceting in 4K

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  • 2.73 ct double sided crystal opal 12.5×9.5×3.8mm

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  • 1.41 ct double sided crystal opal 9.4×6.8×3.9mm

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  • 1.34 ct crystal opal 8.9×7.9×3.3mm

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  • 2.36 ct crystal opal 11.3×7.9×3.6mm

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  • 3.11 ct crystal opal 13×7.9x5mm

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  • 2.58 ct gem crystal opal 12.7×10.8×2.6mm

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  • 4.07 ct crystal opal 13.4×11.6×4.1mm

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  • 2.47 ct crystal opal 13.6×8.4×3.5mm

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  • 2.91 ct gem crystal opal 14.5×10.4x3mm

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  • 1.12 ct crystal opal 7.5×7.2×3.5mm

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  • 2.85 ct crystal opal 12.2×10.2×3.8mm

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  • 1.76 ct crystal opal 9.5×9.5×3.2mm

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  • 1.55 ct crystal opal 11.1×8.5×2.6mm

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  • 0.55 ct double sided crystal opal 6.1×5.2×2.8mm

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  • 1.58 ct crystal opal 11.3×5.1×3.8mm

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  • 0.93 ct double sided crystal opal 7.4×6.1×3.3mm

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Crystal opal rough

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How to cut an Australian crystal opal hiding in some sandy rough.

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