Australian black opal engagement rings are easily one of the most popular types of opal engagement ring. This is mainly because black opals are the most compelling. Yes, they are rare, but this is not the main reason why they are popular. Being compelling is one of those indescribable qualities that draws people in... and that's just what an Australian black opal is. A gemstone that most people can't tear their eyes away from.
A black opal is not a black stone. "Black" is referring to the tone under the colour. It really comes down to the interaction of two things. First, there's all the colours in the rainbow, and then there's the different tones under these colours, like black, grey, white, and clear. If you were to take red and have a white tone under it, the colour would appear pink. But if you then took the red and put a black tone under it, the colour would appear as a strong red. A good way of thinking about it is in terms of artwork. If you were to paint the exact same painting: one with a black background and the other with a white background, they would both have a different quality. Brightly coloured paint contrasted against a black background just pops more!
There is another factor that is really important to value (i.e. compelling nature) and that is brightness. Red is the rarest colour and if you are wanting a quality Australian black opal with red fire (colour play) then be prepared to spend over $5,000 - and that's just for the stone. If you're interested in reading more about fire opal engagement rings, click here. However, if your partner would be happy with a black opal that has bright blues and greens, you can easily find a nice black opal for an engagement ring in the $1,500 to $3,000 range (depending on the size of the stone).
You could also consider a Queensland boulder opal rather than a black opal. Most people know about Australian black opals because there is more marketing around black opals, but we have found that boulder opals are just as compelling. They are also a stronger opal because the host rock is naturally attached to the back of the opal.
Australian black opals come in many different shapes. But by far the most popular shape is oval, and because of this, they are the most expensive shape. So if you are trying to save a bit of money, pick an odd shape. The advantage of selecting an odd shape is that it has a more natural appearance. Regardless, black opal engagement rings of any shape will look great in both rub-over settings or claw settings (if set properly) .
Most Australian black opals come from the Lightning Ridge area in northern New South Wales. Although I enjoy making a sale in my shop, I still recommend going out to Lightning Ridge and haggling with the miners to get your opal. It will become a great story that your future fiancee will be sure to appreciate! The negative is that it is not very easy to make it out to Lightning Ridge. In fact, it is very challenging and if there is a problem with the opal, there is no way to go back and get a resolution. But it would be one hell of an experience. If you don't have time to get out to Lightning Ridge, head over to our Brisbane Opal Museum online store for some examples of Lightning Ridge opals.