Published on Jun 24, 2020
There is a lot of buzz all over the internet regarding Welo Opals. What are these gems and what makes them so special?
Ethiopian Welo Opals also referred to as "wollo Opals", were first mined in 2008 near the town of Wegel Tena in the Wollo Province of northern Ethiopia. It never ceased to gain a reputation for quality Ethiopian gemstones and hydrophane Opal ever since. In present times, much of these opals are mined from a single area of layered volcanic rocks. Welo opals have gained huge popularity in the last few years due to quirky color patterns running in seemingly clear, white, yellow, orange, or brown gems.
Opals come in a variety of colors and patterns. Fire opal is an opal with orange, yellow, or reddish color whereas precious opals are the ones with vivid play-of-color. Opals mined from the Wollo Province with the properties of both fires and precious Opals make for "precious fire opals." Such opals are highly fancied for jewelry purposes as they look nothing less than extraordinary.
Honeycomb Welo Opals look magnificent when seen from different angles. These opals exhibit a beautiful pattern all over the surface of the gem, resembling that of a honeycomb. It almost looks like a honeycomb trapped inside the shell of a gem. Such gems are highly rare, and valuable.
Welo Opals with an even pattern, a display of rainbow shades rather than a single color, a transparent, black or white base color, and large size are considered ‘museum quality’ Opals and command extraordinary prices. Black welo opals never cease to turn heads of Opal lovers as they appear highly charismatic.
Switch in color or transparency is usually accompanied by water absorption in some welo opals. "Hydrophane" is a term for such opals as these opals have the ability to absorb water. These opals have a comparatively low specific gravity due to porosity and some can even absorb sufficient water to reflect a weight gain of up to 15%. However, these opals do not consume water instantly. It takes several hours to absorb and likewise a few days or weeks to dewater it if allowed to dry. The hydrophane properties can certainly alter the appearance and weight and thus should always be considered before purchasing an Opal.
If you are planning to buy a Welo Opal, it is suggested to look for untreated ones. Many of these are sold in their natural state but some are treated with dye, smoke, or sugar/acid treatments to enhance color. People who have great knowledge of Opals can identify the amplified color in seconds but such treatments are not always evident when seen from naked eyes. Therefore, it is highly recommended to look for a gem lab certificate to assure that your Opal is free from any such treatments.
At GemPundit, you can discover a whole new range of Welo Opals. We offer a free basic gem lab certificate with each item with no additional cost. Our adherence to transparency and authenticity has helped us set a benchmark in the market. You can also get your favorite gem turned into a beautiful piece of jewelry. Our highly skilled staff is always ready to serve your needs.