Shopping for Opals

Old Feb 25th, 2014, 07:29 AM
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Shopping for Opals

It's my daughter's birthstone so I want to bring her back a pendant from our trip to Australia; we'll be in Sydney, Melbourne, Palm Cove, and TAZ. Any recommendations on where to look for opal jewelry?
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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There are tourist shops everywhere in Sydney selling opals. I'm not sure if one is any better than another, perhaps someone else can discriminate between them, they are clustered around Circular Quay and the Rocks.

If you want something more individual the most interesting jewellery store in Sydney in my opinion is Courtesy of the Artist in the Strand Arcade.

Melbourne is better for artisanal jewellery than Sydney, there are some really interesting places, worth a look if you are interested in jewellery more generally: Gallery Funaki, egetal, Pieces of Eight.
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 03:01 PM
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I skipped this the 3 times I was in Australia on home exchanges, but I saw places all over. Many tourists do buy opals as a souvenir, but too expensive for my pocketbook--not to mention that I do not wear the jewelry I already have.
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 05:07 PM
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Four years ago we were in Sydney shopping for opals also. We checked out the more touristy shops around Circular Quay and the Rocks. There are some nice pieces, but we found ones we liked better and at a better price at the QVB shopping mall at a small shop on the top floor. The area is worth a look even if you aren't looking for something!
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Old Feb 27th, 2014, 08:26 AM
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Thank you! Very helpful!
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Old Feb 27th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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The most important thing about buying opals is to know what you want and what you are getting.

Obtuse as that looks, it's not really.

Opals come from various parts of Australia & vary in type, colour and treatment - solids, doublets & triplets.
All of these factors contribute to the value of the stone. Size & setting will also influence the price, of course.

In retail, there are 3 treatments / finishes of opals that you will see. In descending order of value & robustness, all other factors being equal.

1. Solid. A solid stone, simply cut & polished.

2. Doublet. The opal is backed with potch or other dark material to enhance the colour and perhaps increase the depth of the stone for setting.

3. Triplet. Typically, a thin slice of opal backed (doublet) and topped with a clear covering, often in a some shape.
Thus, the three pieces - "triplet".

Any or all if these may suit your requirements & budget.

Some people will tell you that you should not put opals in water. That is nonsense - they are naturally occurring stones. Doublets and more especially triplets may be vulnerable in water because the backing &/or topping may come asunder.
There is no reason not to put solid opals in water.

There are better and more detailed explanations about opals on the Internet and in old threads here & I would encourage you to so some research. However, this is a basic guide and should give you somewhere to start.

I go to Sherman Opals in Castlereagh street if I need an opal for a gift.

Don't buy them for myself - my grandfather found enough for us all to have a nice piece or two. The ring I'm wearing is probably about 100 now & still in it's original setting.
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