Chocolate Opal

Chocolate Opal is a type of opal known for its distinctive brown body color, which can range from light brown to a deep chocolate shade. This variety of opal sometime displays a vibrant play-of-color, where various colors like reds, greens, blues, and purples appear to shimmer within the stone. The body color combined with the play-of-color creates a striking and unique appearance, making Chocolate Opal highly sought after in the gemstone market.

Chocolate opal, particularly from Ethiopia, gained significant attention in the early 2000s. While opals have been known and used for centuries, the specific brown or "chocolate" variety became notable more recently.

Chocolate Opal is considered a type of common opal, which typically lacks the play of color characteristic of precious opal. However, some chocolate opals do exhibit a play of color, making them more valuable. Despite being a common opal, its unique brown color makes it a popular choice for various types of jewelry.


Chocolate Opal
Chocolate Opal, from Mezezo, Ethiopia

Chocolate Opal  Properties and Care

Composition: Opals are composed of hydrated silica, with a chemical formula of SiO₂·nH₂O. The water content can range from 3% to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6% and 10%.

Color: The defining feature is its rich, chocolate-brown color. The intensity of the brown can vary, ranging from light coffee hues to deep, dark chocolate shades.

Play of Color: Some chocolate opals exhibit a play of color, a phenomenon where the stone displays a spectrum of colors when viewed from different angles. This is caused by the diffraction of light within the silica spheres of the opal.

Transparency: Chocolate opals can range from opaque to translucent.

Hardness: Opals have a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, which makes it relatively soft compared to other gemstones.

Uses: Chocolate Opal is primarily used in jewelry, including rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Its unique appearance makes it a favored choice for statement pieces and custom jewelry designs. Additionally, its rarity and distinct look make it a popular collectible among gemstone enthusiasts.

Value: The value of chocolate opal depends on factors such as color uniformity, the presence and quality of play-of-color, and overall transparency. High-quality specimens with vivid colors and play-of-color are more valuable.


Raw Chocolate Opal

Chocolate opal in its natural state. From Shewa Province, Ethiopia


Opals, including chocolate opals, require special care due to their relatively low hardness and high water content. Here are some tips for maintaining their beauty:

  • Avoid Exposure to Water: Opals can absorb water, which can lead to cracking or color change.
  • Protect from Impact: Being softer than many other gemstones, opals can be easily scratched or damaged.
  • Store Carefully: Store opal jewelry separately from other pieces to prevent scratches. 


Chocolate Opal
Precious opal from Tertiary; Shewa Province, Ethiopia
Photo: Traveltompo

Where are chocolate opals found?

Chocolate opals are often found in Ethiopia particularly:

  • Welo: The Welo region is particularly famous for producing high-quality Chocolate Opals. Ethiopian opals, including Chocolate Opal, are known for their durability and vibrant play-of-color.
  • Shewa: Another significant region in Ethiopia, contributing to the country's reputation as a major source of opal.

Chocolate opal nodule
Chocolate opal nodule, Ethiopia
Photo: Traveltompo

Metaphysical Properties of Chocolate Opal

Chocolate opal is also believed to have some metaphysical properties.

  • Emotional Healing:
    • Stress Relief: Calms stress and anxiety.
    • Emotional Stability: Promotes emotional balance.
  • Grounding and Stability:
    • Earth Connection: Provides a grounding effect.
    • Security: Enhances stability and security.
  • Creativity and Inspiration:
    • Enhanced Creativity: Stimulates imagination and new ideas.
    • Artistic Expression: Encourages creative expression.
  • Spiritual Growth:
    • Inner Reflection: Promotes self-awareness.
    • Spiritual Journey: Supports spiritual development.
  • Healing Energies:
    • Physical Healing: Believed to boost the immune system.
    • Energy Balancing: Harmonizes body energies.


honeycomb opal
Honeycomb Chocolate opal

Chakra Association

Root Chakra: Due to its grounding properties and brown color, Chocolate Opal is often associated with the root chakra. The root chakra is located at the base of the spine and is responsible for grounding, stability, and a sense of security.

Chocolate Opal Usage

  • Meditation: Holding or placing Chocolate Opal on the body during meditation can help enhance its metaphysical effects.
  • Jewelry: Wearing Chocolate Opal jewelry allows individuals to carry its healing energies with them throughout the day.
  • Crystal Grids: Incorporating Chocolate Opal into crystal grids can amplify its grounding and stabilizing properties. 


Chocolate Opal nodule

Chocolate opal nodule. The first image shows a rough, unopened nodule. The second image shows the same nodule split open, revealing a smooth, chocolate-brown opal with flashes of color.

Read also:
Honeycomb Opal
What is Water Opal?
Bacon Opal: Candy Stripe Opal

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