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If you hadn't considered an opal engagement ring already, let us introduce you to their mystifying beauty and allure. "For the untraditional non-diamond bride, opals make the perfect engagement ring because they display a different kind of sparkle than a diamond—a magical, iridescent sparkle," explains jewelry designer Misa Hamamoto.
What Is an Opal?
An opal is an incredibly unique gemstone known for its display of flashing colors, which is called play-of-color. Formed during the dry period after seasonal rains in regions like Australia, the opal is also the October birthstone.
"You can't deny the wondrous beauty within an opal and each opal is truly one-of-a-kind which is fitting for the one-of-a-kind bride," she continues. "The wonderful thing about opal jewelry is not only that they're absolutely stunning, but they are much more budget-friendly than big diamond rings."
Meet the Expert
Misa Hamamoto is a jewelry designer and creator of Los Angeles-based Misa Jewelry.
Pros and Cons of an Opal Engagement Ring
The pros for opal rings aren't a secret: they come with deep significance. Not only are they known as the birthstone for October birthdates, but also their irresistible charm. Opals have lustrous shine and brilliance to them. They shine naturally without having to have too many extra details.
But even the best (and shiniest) stones aren't perfect. Opals can easily scratch and are more delicate than other stories.
What to Look for in an Opal Ring
- How much do opals cost? Opals come in a wide variety of colors and are characterized by their background tone. White is the most common color and black opals are the most expensive.
- Do opals have as much shine as other stones? The ethereal flashes within the stone are called its "play of color" and can occur in a kaleidoscope of hues.
- Are opals full of color? There are opals with very muted plays of color that can seem completely opaque.
- Are opals rough? Opals, like pearls, are smooth stones and not faceted like other gems.
How to Care for an Opal Engagement Ring
First things first, opals are one of the softest gemstones and need to be handled gently. Also, note that lab-created opals tend to be a bit stronger than their natural counterparts. Since opals are softer gems, your ring should always be handled with care. Always take the ring to a jeweler for cleaning—they will be experts at delicately cleaning the opal.
"We advise that you wear your opal jewelry with great care and love so they become future heirlooms," says Hamamoto. "Don't submerge them under water, don't apply harsh cleaning agents to them, and don't go rock climbing with them! (One of our clients did this and they learned the hard way)."
History of Opal Rings
If you're looking for deep meaning with your engagement ring stone, look no further. Known as "The Queen of Gems," and recognized as the October birthstone, opals have incredible significance attached to them, dating back to the middle ages—it was believed opals had the power to make their wearer invisible. Opals rose back into fashion when Queen Victoria became fascinated with them. Other famous opal-lovers in history include Cleopatra and Empress Josephine. So you're in good company. In fact, it's so difficult to resist the charms of these stones that we're willing to bet you've already fallen under their spell, so here are some facts before you begin the search for your perfect ring.
Ready to find your own opal engagement ring? We've curated a list of our 56 favorite styles below.
Fade to Black Studio Light/Form Ring With Crystal Opal
A full rainbow of refractions encased in a halo of gold. The ring features an Australian, crystal-opal solitaire bezel-set in 18k yellow gold. Fade to Black Studio is known for their timeless designs that illustrate the age-old juxtaposition of light and dark.
Misa Jewelry Lookout Point Opal Ring
An opal center stone is framed by a V-shaped shank with diamond accents, set in 14k gold. "I love any jewelry with opals," says Hamamoto. "They simply look beautiful set in yellow, rose, and white gold and I love how they play off of the colors of other stones set with them."
Zoë Chicco Opal & Sunburst Diamond Ring
A glittering white ring that can represent so many things. Three teardrop opals and one white diamond are set in 14k gold. Turn the ring upside-down, for an angelic silhouette. Flip the perspective and you have all the symbolism of a half lotus or sunburst design.
Angara Double-Claw-Set Oval Opal Halo Ring With Diamonds
An incendiary opal burns brightly as light refractions from the surrounding diamonds feed its flames. An oval opal is framed by a halo of diamonds and set on a 14k gold or platinum band. The claw setting secures the stone without hindering its brilliance.
Misa Jewelry Native Opal Ring
"I personally have my heart set on Australian opals with more saturation in color because it reminds me of the sea and warm waters," says Hamamoto. "So I take the time to select each opal that I use in my jewelry line." Here, a marquise-cut opal is enveloped in a half halo of pavé diamonds, and set in 14k gold.
Misa Jewelry Oasis Opal Ring
"I say this for all engagement rings—the overall design of the ring and how it complements the beauty of the gemstones needs to speak to you," says Hamamoto. "You should love everything about your ring because it's your forever ring." Here, an opal center stone is framed by a partial halo of pavé diamonds, and set in 14k gold.
Wwake Opal and Diamond Demi-Paired Ring
A minimalist style for those who prefer the simplicity of a band. Four Australian opals are set in a row and flanked by diamond accents on a 14k gold band. All of the brand's offerings boast sculptural designs based on pillars of simplicity, balance, and a departure from the conventional.
Angara Vintage Style Opal and Diamond Cushion Halo Ring
In true art-deco style, this ring has a geometric structure highlighted by decadent diamonds. A single opal center stone emanates a celestial aura amongst a bed of starry gems. A round opal with cushion-shaped diamond and milgrain halo, set in 14k gold or platinum.
Misa Jewelry Freshwater Opal Ring
"Opals are so alluring because they vary widely in color and flash, so it's really up to the personal preference of the collector," says Hamamoto. "I love all shapes and sizes of opals but if I had to choose, opals with more saturation in color tend to be my favorite." Here, a horizontal, bezel-set opal on a 14k gold band accented with diamonds.
Ascheron Opal and Diamond Ring
A refreshing take on the traditional three-stone ring. A single opal is embraced in a hug of symmetrical diamonds. Set in choice of 18k gold or platinum.
Ascheron "Saorsa" Opal and Diamond Ring
This pearlescent, pastel opal is set amongst a row of graduated diamonds like a precious jewel protected by a glittering cavalry. The five-stone ring is set in a choice of gold or platinum. Ascheron is a Dublin-based jewelry house focused on forging handcrafted pieces through ethical practices.
Fade to Black Studio Galaxy Signet Ring With Large Opal
This signet ring has all the delicious chunkiness we've come to expect of the style but with a delicate femininity about it. It's clear to see how this ring got its name with a large opal that seemingly houses an entire universe within it. Here, an Australian opal is encased in 18k yellow gold and displayed on a thin band.
Wwake Large Organic Crossover Opal and Diamond Ring
This organic design encompasses all the whimsical and enchanting qualities of Mother Nature. The iridescent opal emits a radiant green glow as if it contained the heart of the forest itself. Here, an opal center stone accented with scattered white diamonds, set in 14k gold.
Capucinne Opal Engagement Ring
This pearlescent, teardrop-shaped opal radiates with an angelic light. The pear-shaped design is magnified with a halo of white diamonds and set on a pavé diamond band. Capucinne is a Slovenian brand that prides itself on creating fine jewelry pieces with an innately personalized feel.
Allurez Cushion-Cut Opal Solitaire Engagement Ring
An opal solitaire with a curvaceous appeal. To keep with the aesthetic, the band itself also has a rounded style. A cushion-cut opal with a simple bezel setting in 14k gold. Opt for a bezel setting in lieu of the more common prong style to better protect the soft opal stone.
Bario Neal Soma Opal Cabochon Ring With Champagne Halo
This opal absorbs the light refractions from the diamonds and transforms them into its own ethereal glow. The ring features an opal cabochon framed by a champagne diamond halo and band, set in 14k yellow gold. Bario Neal is a female-owned company focused on creating handcrafted designs through ethical and sustainable practices.
Aardvark Jewellery Three-Stone Opal and Trillion Diamond Engagement Ring
A fluorescence of captivating greens and corals take center stage in this ring. Trillion-cut diamonds glitter on each side, not to be outshined. The ring features an opal center stone with trillion diamond flanks, set in 18k gold.
Tomasz Donocik "Stellar Hook" Stone Ring With Pink Opal
An architectural style for the nontraditional bride. An opaque, pink opal center is framed by a hook of white agate, Mozambique ruby, hematite, and pink opal baguettes, set in 18k rose gold. Tomasz Donocik's style is defined by bold and daring designs inspired by abstract and geometric artwork.
Jemma Wynne "Toujours" Opal and Diamond Ring
A ring that houses an entire aurora borealis within its bosom. Here, an opal center stone and diamond band bezel-set in 18k yellow gold. All of Jemma Wynne's pieces are a blend of precious materials with a laid-back, ready-to-wear approach for the ultimate wearable luxury.
Anna Sheffield "Stardust Bea" Ring
A blue and green opal takes on a gilded glow in this old-world design. A rectangular opal cabochon is flanked by champagne diamond accents and set in 14k yellow gold. Anne Sheffield believes jewelry is much more than mere ornamentation, she views her creations as ceremonial talismans alive with their own unique energies.
Abby Sparks Jewelry "The Jessyka" Ring
A black opal that's set ablaze in peacock-hued flames. The pear-shaped opal is framed by a halo of diamonds, Ceylon blue sapphires, and intricately scalloped texture, all set in 18k white gold. Abby Sparks prides herself on handcrafting unique, one-of-kind pieces forged from 100 percent recycled materials.