Black Opal Gems, Affordability From Ethiopia

We always learnt that natural black opal gems come from one place on our planet and that is Australia. To be more specific, it is the Lightning Ridge opal resource in Australia that occasionally yields some black opal gems. This obviously means that black opals are rare but, the market today seems to reflect a different picture. There is an abundance of black opal gems, these beauties sell for under 20 U.S$ per carat in retail volumes. To begin with these are Ethiopian black opal gems, you might recall the entry of Wello opals from Ethiopia about half a decade ago. So do the Ethiopian mines also yield black opal gems, the answer should be a 'no'. The black Ethiopian opal gems in the market are, natural opal from the African nation that  have been treated to acquire the black color. Remember that, a black opal gem shows the play-of-color effect on a dark background. 

The story goes that an Indian gem manufacturer in the city of Jaipur had stumbled on the right formula to turn Ethiopian white opals into these stunning black opal gemstones. The manufacturer tried to keep the formula to himself and began charging premium prices for these treated Ethiopian black opal gems. But then, you  can never hide the truth - many gem dealers learnt the process to make black opal gems from natural opals from Ethiopia. As the image shows, these opal gems look stunning and appear to be of a fine quality. So how do these black opal gems from Ethiopia compare to those from the Australian mines. We would say that, any attempt to put these black opals on par or near par to those from the Lightning Ridge mines, is a waste of time. After all, the Australian gems have that dark color in their natural form but, the Ethiopian black opal gemstones are treated to give them a dark base color. 

So should you use treated black Ethiopian opal gemstones in the jewelry that you make. The answer would be that 'it is up to you ' but, here is an important suggestion. If you feel that your Ethiopian black opal has a demand in your market, go ahead and use these gems by all means. However, make sure that the gems are clearly explained to the buyer. Give as much information as possible, you earn respect that way so do not hold back. Since these black opal gems are treated, they need some care and attention. It is quite possible that the appearance of these gems will deteriorate after some time. The good thing about black opals from Ethiopia is that, they are affordable and cost only a small fraction of what, the Australian black opal gems would cost. This makes them suitable for medium priced jewelry, you could consider making silver black opal rings and sell them at an affordable price. 

No matter how you add these gems to your line of merchandise make sure that, you do not overcharge or try to pass these Ethiopian stones as having come from Australia. While some countries have made it a criminal offence, to sell merchandise with wrong descriptions, do not try to misrepresent the stone in the remaining countries too. When you provide a clear explanation for what you sell, you enhance your reputation - lack of disclosure can lead to customer dissatisfaction, you could also be inviting legal complications.