Opal (Common) Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™
While we often think of opal in terms of phenomenal play of color, this gemstone family is full of other unique and appealing members that have their own allure. Gems can be transparent, translucent or opaque and form in almost any color in many locations around the world. Get to know all the varieties of this unique family by looking at our fire opal, dendritic opal, hyalite, Caramel Spice Opal (TM), Morado Opal (TM), along with even more blue, pink and green varieties. With such an endless array, opal truly is the 'Queen of Gemstones'.
Almost Any Color
Opal-common classificationCommonNameOpal (Common)SpeciesOpalVarietyCommon OpalColorsAlmost Any ColorAlternateNamesPotch, Opal Without Play-Of-Color, Common Opal, Colored OpalGemstoneGroupsKeySeparationsAppearance, RI and fluorescenceClassificationCommentsCommon opal shows no play-of-color and is called potch when found in association with precious opal. Agate opal or banded opal has concentric bands and has an appearance similar to agate. Andean opal is a greenish blue opal from Peru that sometimes contains dendrite inclusions. Cachalong opal, mother of pearl opal or Kalmuck agate opal is translucent to opaque milky bluish white and it has a similar appearance to porcelain or mother of pearl. This stone is often used form cameos. Cat's-eye opal is brownish yellow to yellowish brown and has needle inclusions that create chatoyancy. The stones might display what is called the "milk and honey" effect. Dendritic or moss opal has dendritic inclusions that look like moss. Girasol opal is a hyalite opal that is semitransparent to translucent. It has microscopic inclusions that give it blueish white sheen with reddish reflections and has an appearance similar to moonstone. Hyalite opal or water stone is colorless to translucent white with strong sheen. Honey opal is orange brown in color. Iron opal is yellow or red common opal.Jasper opal is brecciated Jasper cemented by opal. Milk opal is white common opal.Onyx opal is banded opal. Prase opal or chrysopal is a translucent to opaque green common opal. The yellowish green material looks similar to chrysoprase. Wax opal is a yellowish in color and has a waxy luster. Wood opal or zeasite is dark brown to black opaque fossilized wood replaced by opal.
Opal-common chemistry & crystallographyChemicalNamehydrated silicon dioxideChemicalFormulaSiO2.nH2OSynthesisCrystalSystemNAChemistryClassificationSilicateNatureNaturalCrystallinityAmorphousChemistryComments
Opal-common optical propertiesTransparencyTranslucent - OpaqueDispersionOpticalCommentsRefractiveIndex1.37-1.47BirefringenceOpticCharacterNAOpticSignPolariscopeReactionSingly Refractive (SR) With ADRFluorescenceSWUV: inert to strong green or yellowish green
LWUV: inert to strong green or yellowish greenCCFReactionPleochroismNone
Opal-common characteristic physical propertiesHardness5-6.5CharacteristicCommentsStreakWhiteSpecificGravity1.98-2.5 Typical:2.15ToughnessVariesInclusionsLusterVitreousStabilityPoorFractureConchoidal, UnevenCleavageNone