Ethiopian opal vs Australian opal

Opals are known for their dazzling play of colors and are treasured by gem enthusiasts worldwide. Among the various opal varieties, Ethiopian opal and Australian opal stand out as two remarkable options. Understanding their differences can help you choose the perfect opal for your jewelry collection. In this article, we’ll embark on a captivating journey to explore the key differences between Ethiopian opal and Australian opal.

Origin

Ethiopian opals are relatively new, and their discovery occurred in the early 1990s. These opals are primarily found in the highlands of Ethiopia, in regions like Wollo and Shewa.

Australia has long been renowned as the capital of opal gemstones. Australian Opals, including the famous Black Opal, originate from various regions within the country, with the most prominent sources being Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy, and Queensland.

Play of color

Opal often exhibits extensive luster and dynamic patterns, captivating the observer with its fiery luster.
The finest-quality Australian opals display a variety of colors with a white base, while the top-quality Ethiopian opal displays brilliant rainbow colors with an orange base. Additionally, the best-quality Ethiopian opals are completely transparent and exhibit a honeycomb-like pattern that further enhances their play of color phenomena.

Transparency

Ethiopian opals exhibit good transparency, allowing light to penetrate and enhance their play of colors. They can have varying degrees of clarity, from transparent to slightly opaque.
Australian opals vary in transparency, with some being quite translucent and others more opaque.

Ethiopian Opal vs. Australian Opal price

Ethiopian Opals are relatively more affordable compared to Australian Opals. Their recent discovery has made them a popular choice for jewelry designers and collectors. On the other hand,  Australian opal’s limited mining and unique characteristics often command higher prices. Its opals, especially the high-quality black opals, are considered some of the rarest and most valuable opals in the world.

Ethiopian Opal vs. Australian Opal - which is better?

Both Ethiopian Opal and Australian Opal offer their own distinctive allure, making them coveted gemstones in the world of jewelry and gem collecting. Your choice between the two will depend on your preferences for play of colors, body tone, rarity, and budget.

The firing of Australian opal is more permanent than Ethiopian opal, and you can use it daily without taking any precautions. The firing of the Ethiopian Opal can disappear under some special circumstances. So if you want more durable opal, then you should choose Australian opal. On the other hand, the Ethiopian Opal is more budget-friendly than the Australian Opal.

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