What would you call this Ethiopian opal

I got some rough opal for a low price i have been cleaning it but i don’t know what the quality is.

I assume it is bolder opal but is this gem quality?
And i know i still have quite a bit of cleaning to go.

Video here

It is no boulder opal for sure, that type has the opal embedded in a matrix. It is solid -gem- opal. As for the base colour I would say honey semicrystal opal.
The pattern probably broadflash, though you are moving it a bit fast :wink: Plus it is multicolour: all the colours of the spectrum are present.
Nice stone!



Btw… I don’t know what you want to clean, but I would leave it as is. Chances are you might damage the opal. And might you want to have it cut: would not do that either, unless you know that the area it originates from produces stable opal.
Saying this because Ethiopian opal is considered to be less stable than i.e. Australian opal and thus more difficult to cut. And about that: the stone has cracks, going inside the stone. Those might just be cracks having developed while taking the opal out of the matrix, but might also be a sign of instability.
As to its origin: Welo area should be safe. However, if it originated from Shewa, than cracks might protrude further into the stone, having the stone crack until you are left with just small pieces (it is called crazing). Luckily most stones are likely to come from Welo :+1:

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Yet another remark… just for fun.
You might want to lick the stone :wink:
If your tongue sticks to stone you got hydrophane opal: it will easily take on water, becoming clear. And turn into the original colours after drying again… have fun!


The stones did fragment slightly as i cleaned i have only soaked in water and used a soft brush or a safety pin gently in the pitted areas. They have been in water cycles for 4 months.

Not sure certainly not Australian only thought i had is it could be Ethiopian smoked opal

I purchased it from a reputable company as Ethiopian i just didn’t know the color or quality

From the video…very clearly Ethiopian Opal. You never really know with it if it will cut well or not. Sometimes you get lots of little pieces of it due to unseen fractures. In my experience, this material is kind of hit and miss if you can get anything decent out of it. I’ve had much more experience with Australian opal.


I appreciate that. I am rather sure i have one down past the fractures so i have at least 1 in a good size. The other one im still not sure but. Im happy for what i paid. I learned things. I’m so new I’m in no rush… right now my equipment is tooth brushes and a dremmel set lol

Not australian for sure. the fire is good but the color is off. can’t be too careful with opals. they are much softer than silica stones… some can be ruined by drying out. Be careful of them becoming crumbly with dehydration and slowly dissolving if left in water. you already mentioned some fragmenting in water,
Opals are hydrated silica composed of microscopic spheres packed together in either hexagonal or cubic closest packing. It’s non crystalline and as such is delicate. Opals contain up to 21% water, with the common range being 10- 14 %… the regular arrangement of the sphere gives it opalescence as light can refract from multiple different angles.
common opal is less ordered and found everywhere when silica dissolves out of rock and is redeposited. You need to study and approach the study of gems and minerals systematically. Do your homework! the number of websites on opals is in the hundreds…