Lab Created Opals the Pros and Cons
What lab created opals are and how they are different to natural opals
Opals are extraordinary and amazingly beautiful stones with opalescence, a display of many bright iridescent shimmering effects mixed together.
The period of "maturation" of this mineral takes a whole century and to make opal jewelry enough for everyone, attempts to synthesize it began. This is why lab created opals are often found on the stone market. So, is it possible to buy synthetic opals? How valuable are such specimens? And what is a synthetic stone in general? Together, we will find the answers to these questions.
The period of "maturation" of this mineral takes a whole century and to make opal jewelry enough for everyone, attempts to synthesize it began. This is why lab created opals are often found on the stone market.
FACTS ABOUT NATURAL OPAL
Opal is interesting because it contains a lot of water (up to 20%), so it is also called a living stone. By the way, you should remember that opals can lose moisture, which leads to cracks. It is important to wear opal jewelry not too rarely, so that the stone can restore its water balance. If you do not wear the stone, you should store it in a place with high humidity. It is also better not to wear opal jewelry in dry and hot weather. If your opal is faded or scratched, the only thing you can do is polish the stone again through a professional jewelry workshop.
Opal is interesting also by its origin, it is found in fossils and structures of animal and plant remains.
On sale you can find doublets and triplets. A doublet consists of a black base, to which a thin layer of precious opal is glued. A triplet also consists of a base, but a quartz dome is added over the top.
WHAT ARE LAB CREATED OPALS?
Not so long ago, opals began to be synthesized, i.e. artificial opals were made in a laboratory. Since 1970, synthesized opals have appeared on the stone market. The most interesting thing is that these opals have the same chemical composition as natural opals. The physical properties, appearance, and inner structure are the same as in a natural stone.
Sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish between artificial and natural opals, as they are so similar. It even happens that the ‘game of light’ can be brighter and more intense than a real stone, and the color of artificial opals can be as varied as the patterns on a stone.
LAB CREATED OPALS PRODUCTION PROCESS
The synthesis of opals began with the study of opalescence, that is, the game of light inside a stone. When scientists solved this mystery in 1964, it became possible to grow opals in a laboratory.
Essence of opalescence: an array of small silica spheres with the same size in diameter less than ½ micron serves as a lattice of natural diffraction for dividing visible light into a spectrum of colors.
Interestingly, opal is not synthesized in the same way as other stones. After all, other stones are minerals in the form of crystals. But opal is not a mineral, and in nature, it does not grow as crystals; this is what distinguishes the production of synthetic opals.
Synthetic opal is grown using the following algorithm:
WHERE ARE SYNTHETIC OPALS USED?
Synthetic opals are used in jewelry making, and as mentioned above, it can be very difficult to distinguish a natural stone from an artificial one. That is why, of course, there are also cases of deception, when a synthetic stone is given as a real one. It is necessary to be very careful when choosing a stone and recommended that you not buy your stones from dubious sellers.
In addition to jewelry, synthetic opals are used to decorate various items, such as musical instruments, caskets and interior items.
Synthetic opal definitely has a future, and this stone is increasingly being used in various fields.
PROS AND CONS OF LAB CREATED OPALS
Synthetic opal is denser and contains less water, so it does not crack like a natural stone.
The price of laboratory opal is lower than that of natural opal.
Externally, it is almost indistinguishable from natural stone.
The color palette of artificial stones is much wider.
It has no magical or therapeutic properties.
It cannot be used as an investment. Synthetic opal is not a family heirloom, an amulet or a talisman.
It does not have such a game of light as natural opal.
SOME IDEAS FOR NATURAL OPAL JEWELRY
HOW TO DISTINGUISH NATURAL OPAL FROM SYNTHETIC OPAL?
Method 1 - Look at the stone in sunlight.
When sunlight hits, the glare inside will color your fingers in all shades of the rainbow.
Method 2 - Unique patterns.
The patterns on the inner part of the stone should not be repeated if it is natural. If you are holding a synthesized stone, you may notice either the same patterns or a change in the brightness of the stone at random during a careful examination.
Method 3 - Multilayer.
It is impossible to see layer joints in a natural stone. In a synthetic stone, if it is turned sideways, you can see thin joins, even stripes.
Method 4 - Transparency and purity.
If you are holding a perfect stone in your hands, it is most likely a fake. Usually, a natural stone has cracks and a slightly irregular color.
Method 5 - Price.
If you are looking at a perfect opal at a low price, it is probably synthetic.
Method 6 - Spills.
Synthetic opal has clear color zoning, and natural opal is characterized by softer shades.
Method 7 - Color.
Too bright and saturated colors are a sign of unnatural opal. Beware of bright pink, blue, and bright green opals, as they are most likely to be fake.
OUR OPINION ON OPALS
We love opals and use them in our jewelry. In the BlackTree store you will find only natural opals.
We always prefer only natural stones, and there are several arguments for this:
So, here we have told you about both synthesized and natural opals. Remember that any stone must be properly cared for and gently treated. Synthetic stones are not always an example of strength and durability, so when choosing natural or synthetic opal, we recommend thinking several times and make the right choice for you.
Kindly note that healing gemstone meanings are not prescriptions or healthcare information.
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