What are Jelly Opals

what are jelly opals?
thanks ryr

The term is really a misnomer but is in common use. It refers to
Mexican particolor opals of a very transparent variety. They look
nothing so much as a handful of jellybeans in the hand and in
more commercial qualities can be quite inexpensive. On the other
had, I have bid against buyers in the 1970’s, from prestigious
gem houses for parcels of opal from the same mines that rival the
finest opal in the world.

Kenneth W.(Ken) Burchell

RYR, Jelly Opals or Water Opals. Just another name for clear
or semi transparent Opal. Some will have no fire, some a rather
indistinct display. I have cut these, and seen others cut into
rather attractive stones. Clear ones can be faceted,
semitransparent ones usually cabbed. Bill

Hello RYR,

Australia too has what is also described as jelly opal. Not to
be confused with the expensive ‘crystal’ opal, jelly is not as
transparent and has little or no colour play but instead often
exhibits a colour cast. The base colour is invariably an
unattractive brown/yellow but the cast colours, mainly purple or
green can be quite dramatic.

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Bill - I have bought lemon opal, almost transparent beautiful
lemon custard color. Are these also Jelly Opals? Gini in St.

Gini no…jelly opals are brownish stones with “jelly” in
them… LIke the donut with the jelly… It is all colors and
quite pretty… I hope this is right calgang

Gini - I’m not Bill but in my experience those nearly
transparent lemon and custard yellow opals [some stunning] have
been what is sometimes called “oeso” [my Spanish is rusty, excuse
the spelling if wrong] or, in English, bone quality opal.

Another truly transparent and often beautiful variety from
Mexico is called amber opal.


Gini, Jelly Opal, Water Opal, and a lot of other terms are
really local names for Opal. Your description sounds like you
have Mexican Opal, and if it is, Mexican Opal covers a wide range
of colors and clarities. Some Mexican Opal has a play of fire,
some doesn’t. Some is only clear enough to cab, some facets
beautifully. One caution. After the material is cut, either
cabbed or faceted, keep it around for at least several months.
Sometimes it will crack or craze while cutting, and some will
turn milky or craze even several months after cutting. I only
do faceting, but never sell an Opal of mine for at least 6 months
after cutting. Have had them go milky after 4 months. Soaking
in water will sometimes bring them back to life, but is only
temporary until they dry out again. bill

Bill - thanks so much for your reply. The lemon opal that I
bought are now over a year old and are still as beautiful as the
day I bought them. I like them so much that I can’t decide on a
design worthy of them. Therefore, they stay in my gem stash!!!
Thanks again, Gini