Neutron activation analysis (NAA) is a technique particularly suited to analysing opals since it is non-destructive and the silica matrix of opals is not prone to significant activation. It was used to determine the concentration of trace elements in 50 samples of orange, yellow, green, blue and pink opals as well as 18 samples of colourless opals taken from a number of recognised fields in Australia, Peru, Mexico and USA. The results were then evaluated to determine if a relationship existed between trace element content and opal colour. The mean concentration of most of the elements found in orange, yellow and colourless opals were similar with few exceptions. This indicated that, for these samples, colour is not related to the trace elements present. However, the trace element profile of the green, pink and blue opals was found to be significantly different with each colour having a much higher concentration of certain trace elements when compared with all other opals analysed. 7 refs.