Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica. Because of its amorphous character it is classed as a mineraloid. It is deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock. The internal structure of precious opal makes it diffract light; depending on the conditions in which it formed, it can take on many colors. Precious opal ranges from clear through white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown, and black. Of these hues, the reds against black are the most rare, whereas white and greens are the most common. It varies in optical density from opaque to semi-transparent. For  gemstone use, its natural color is often enhanced by placing thin layers of opal on a darker underlying stone, like basalt. Combined with modern techniques of polishing, doublet opal produces similar effect of black or boulder opals at a mere fraction of the price. Doublet opal also has the added benefit of having genuine opal as the top visible and touchable layer, unlike triplet opals. The triplet-cut opal backs the colored material with a dark backing, and then has a domed cap of clear quartz or plastic on top, which takes a high polish and acts as a protective layer for the opal. The top layer also acts as a magnifier, to emphasize the play of color of the opal beneath, which is often of lower quality. Triplet opals therefore have a more artificial appearance, and are not classed as precious opal.

Boulder opal cabachons $30.00 to $150.00 each.