If you’ve had difficulty describing and evaluating opal, you’re not alone. So many factors affect the beauty, quality, and value of an opal that most jewelers and appraisers give up and contact their opal supplier to find out what they have and what it’s worth.
But now there’s a tool to help jewelers become more competent at opal evaluation. Developed by Peter Evans, opal expert and president of the Opal Association in Sydney, Australia, the Opal Smart Chart is a point-and-click computer program for determining opal quality characteristics, and it’s integrated with appraisal pricing and forms.
For each quality and value factor, the user chooses from a set of images the one that matches the opal in hand. The program consists of questions with a variety of answers pertaining to each characteristic of the stone. Many deal with color factors, including background and body tone, spectral combinations, and pattern. To help determine field of origin, Opal Smart Chart shows images of opals from known localities (e.g., Lightning Ridge, Queensland, etc.).