Common Opals

Saturday, 2 July 2022
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Common Opal

Common Opals

What is Common Opal?

Common Opals are categorised by the lack of the “Play of Colour” displayed by Precious Opals. Although widely distributed Common Opals are less valuable and exciting than Precious Opals. They do however represent an excellent value for money proposition and occur in a beautiful range of pastel colours.

Common Opals are sometimes referred to as “Potch”. Potch refers to mineral structure of the gen which are comprised of microscopic spheres of silica dioxide. The difference between opals regarded as Potch and Precious Opals is that in Common Opals the spheres are jumbled, whereas in precious opal they’re all laid out in uniform rows.

There are a number of different types of common opal which include milk opal, resin opal and wood opal, menilite and hyalite.

Milk Opals are the lightest opal and generally a milky white colour that can also be a bluish to greenish colour. They are also referred to as White Opals and are mostly found in Coober Pedy and Lightning Ridge Autsralia.

Resin Opals also known as Honey Opals are a honey yellow colour and displays a translucent to clear lustre which appears resinous.

Wood Opals are a form of petrified wood which is composed of opal rather than wood often known as chalcedony. While opalised wood can be very attractive it does suffer from a lower level of hardness being susceptible to damage more easily.

Menilite Opal or Goddess stone is a greyish-brown form of the mineraloid opal, and is also known as  liver opal due to its colour.

Hyalite Opal – a unique form of opal which is characterised by its fluorescence. The flouresence is due to the presence of Uranium in the formation of the opal. Hyalite opals can display a massive change in colour when subject to UV light.

Where do Common Opals come from?

Common opals are found in a lot of the same locations as precious opals.  The main locations are Australia, Peru, USA Ethiopia and Mexico, although there are deposits in many other countries.

Common Opals can offer exceptional value for money and have a beauty greatly admired by many.


Jill Hansen runs Anastasia’s Of Broome and is a highly recognised expert in both the fields of South Sea Pearls and Diamonds. Jill trained in seeding pearls in the Cook Islands by Japanese Pearl Technicians, and established a wholesale pearl business selling pearls all over the world. She pioneered the combination of pearls and diamonds to create Lust™ Pearls, a unique fusion of these two beautiful gemstones. Jill holds the prestigious recognition of being an Antwerp Diamond Broker for selecting and sourcing Diamonds direct from the diamond capital of the world, Antwerp. She is a diamond expert and is happy to use and impart her knowledge to help customers make informed decisions.


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