When it comes to black opals, there is a big disparity between retail and fair market value.
This past month we have been fortunate to see and own several nice black opals. These opals, mined at Lightning Ridge Mine in northern New South Wales, Australia, display incredible play of color — from yellow and green to blue and red. The more red and blue you see in Lightning Ridge Mine opals, the better.
A. Set in platinum, the stone in this art nouveau ring was characterized by GIA as a black opal. Because of its size and gorgeous color, we paid $7,000 for it and it is for sale in our store for $10,000. The appraised value would be much higher.
B. The stone in this ring is not a black opal at all but a boulder opal with pieces of stone in it, and is worth very little over the gold value.
C. GIA determined the opal in this bypass ring to be gray instead of black, which hurt its value. In addition, there are mild cracks on the surface that further rendered it less valuable. We paid $1,000 for it.
D. This yellow gold ring was brought in by our customer, D.C.G., and we weren’t able to buy it – because it appraised for $17,000 and is worth that in a retail setting, but the fair market value is under $5,000. We offered $3,000 because of the amazing play of color. We still hope to buy it from our customer. The style of its setting is Art Nouveau with enamel and old mine-cut diamonds.
Three former Sothebys.com associates and two art historians on staff. Call or email us if you want to deal with Tampa Bay’s leading auctioneer. We have sold the contents of a museum and a large art collection for USF. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Always buying complete estates – or one item.
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