These three types of opal are all very different from one another. It wasn’t until recently that we understood how each differed from one another, and from traditional opals.
Yowah Nut Opal
Yowah nut opal are really small boulder opals that look roughly like a nut from a tree. They can be as small as an apricot seed or as large as a Mango seed. When the “nut” opens up it reveals layers of brown, roundish patterns much like a lemon peel that eventually, as you get to the center of the stone, end up in either an empty cavity or an area filled with opal.
How the ‘kernel’ of the nut get filled with precious opal? That was a complete mystery until geologists and others worked out that a long time in the past the boulder ironstone ‘nuts’ were not as hard as they are today. In fact, at one stage of the development they were quite porous, allowing a mater based chemical mix, seep down into them. In time, this chemical ‘soup’ containing silica, dried out and left a residue which ended up being either common or precious opal.
Phantom Ghost Opals
Some Ethiopian opals have a natural Phantom ghost. These opals are called Phantom Ethiopian opals and are also known as Ghost Phantom Opals.
It is thought that Ethiopian opal is formed differently than sedimentary opal and this allows for this unique ghost inclusion in these opals. It does not form in any other opals. Most are formed with smooth coverage inside the opal but the more rare ghosts are ones formed like bubbles or cloud formations.
The Opal is mostly transparent crystal opal on the outside layer and the inner ghost cloud like inclusion is inside the crystal shell of the opal. The Ghost phantom can be milky white to grey and black or even semi translucent in itself. It does not affect the overall color of the crystal fire and sometimes it looks like the ghost can have opal colors but this is the crystal around the ghost that gives this effect.
Mexican Mysterious Opals
There are so many different names in use for this type of opal: fire opal, jelly opal, crystal opal, cherry opal. The final mysterious opal is unique Mexican Opal that has brilliant fire colour but also has rutillated needles inside the Opal. It is really a mystery on how this Opal was formed this way. Opal is silica and Mexican Opal is volcanic, so to have rutilated needles form inside the silica or Opal it needed to have cavities.