Mineral Review

How to check whether an opal is real or not?

The more expensive and beautiful the stone, the more likely it is that people will want to create an artificial copy of it. But how can you avoid being deceived and identifying a fake? Opal is one of the most beautiful precious stones that has been known since the first decades of our era. The period of “maturation” of this mineral takes a whole century, therefore, to ensure that there was enough jewelry with opal for everyone, attempts to synthesize it began. Advertising – Continued below The simplest method, which was used during the times of Ancient Rome, was heating and then cooling ordinary glass. However, the first patent for synthesized opal was received only in 1973 by the Swiss company Gilson. Of course, technology does not stand still, and nowadays it has become very difficult to distinguish natural stone from a fake. Still, you can try to protect yourself from buying an imitation. We’ll look at ways to do this below.


The sun’s rays, passing through natural opal, are refracted, and your fingers will be painted in almost all colors of the spectrum. If it is a fake, then there will be no such trick of light. Advertising – Continued below

Test for stickiness

No matter how strange it may sound, if you put a stone on your tongue, the fake will “stick” to it, but nothing like that will happen with a natural stone.

Unique patterns

Patterns on the inside of the stone should not be repeated if it is natural. This applies to both classic black opal and the unusual matrix opal that has come into fashion in recent years. The mineral will “play”, but its color will be uniform. If you are holding a fake in your hands, then upon careful examination you will notice either identical patterns or a random change in the brightness of the stone.


If you turn the fake side towards you, then if you look closely you can sometimes see thin, even stripes—the junctions of the layers. Naturally, this cannot happen in natural stone. Advertising – Continued below

Cleanliness and transparency

If the stone you are holding in your hands is transparent or pure milky white, then most likely it is natural. If a translucent “substrate” of a darker color is visible, then it is synthetic opal. Naturally, the same applies not only to light varieties of gemstones, but also, for example, to luxurious fiery ones.

Price issue

The cost of natural stone is approximately equal to the cost of gold. If the stone is suspiciously cheap, then it is probably a fake.

Soft shimmer

Another distinctive feature of fake opal is a fairly clear zoning of colors, in contrast to the soft transitions (play) of natural stone. Advertising – Continued below


If it is possible to examine the stone under a magnifying glass with high magnification or under a microscope, then in synthetic opal you can see microcracks filled with air bubbles. They arise during sudden temperature changes during glass processing. A similar phenomenon can be observed in hydrothermal stones – but they, unlike opal imitation, completely replicate the properties of natural stones, physically and chemically.

Unnatural colors

Stones of unusual, very rich and bright colors, for example, hot pink, blue, acid green – are completely fake. Advertising – Continued below Of course, the most reliable way to verify the authenticity of a stone is a gemological examination. Only a professional craftsman can accurately determine whether a stone is natural or a fake. And yet, by using one of the listed methods when choosing an opal, even if not with one hundred percent certainty, you can minimize the likelihood of deception by an unscrupulous seller. And now that you are convinced of the naturalness of your beautiful stone, do not forget that it requires careful treatment and proper care if you want the beauty of the opal to delight you for many years to come. But about the situation in which the buyer has the right to return jewelry, read our material on this topic. Subscribe to Jewelery Mag on Telegram and VK to be the first to know about new publications. Author: viktoria Category: Catalog of precious stones. All about precious stones Date of creation: 2020-04-15 Views: 8677 Comments: 0 How to distinguish natural opal from its fake (imitation). Types of fake opals, photos of natural and fake opals. How to protect yourself from buying fake opals? Natural noble opal – an expensive stone, a rather rare visitor to the jewelry market. So why is there so much cheap jewelry with supposedly “natural” opals in every shopping center? I don’t want to buy it. All gemologists in the world claim that natural noble opal cannot be cheap, since it is mined only in a few deposits in Ethiopia and Australia, and “honest” sellers assure (of course in words) that their stones are natural. Who to believe? And so, the first thing we pay attention to is the price. 1) Low price – the first criterion that should alert you. A silver ring with real opal cannot cost 1000 UAH. Don’t be fooled and don’t be fooled by dishonest sellers. Natural opal has a high price. Of course, the price of a stone depends on many factors: the weight of the stone (which must be indicated in Carats), the quality of the color play, the cut of the stone, etc. Please note that opal is a stone that is difficult to cut. It can burst or break, since the base of the stone is a fragile shell-like structure. This is why faceted opals are sold much more expensive than their cabochon-cut counterparts. On the left in the photo is a faceted opal from Ethiopia, on the right is an opal also from Ethiopia, but in a cabochon cut. These two stones are completely different and each is incredibly beautiful in its own way. But the cost of a faceted stone will be higher than the cost of opal in a cabochon due to the complexity of cutting the stone. 2) Appearance of the stone The first thing you should pay attention to is the pigmentation of the stone. That is, inclusions, heterogeneous patterns that are not repeated in natural stone. If you see a clear geometric pattern on a stone, clear circles (multi-colored dots with clear boundaries) – this is nothing more than a fake! Natural black opal: Natural black green opal: Black Opal (Fake): Fake opal in jewelry: Surely, you have come across similar jewelry. There are especially many of them in Kyiv in shopping centers. Unfortunately, the fact that a piece of jewelry is sold in a large store does not guarantee the purchase of an original stone. Look carefully at the photos presented above; all these photos have a common feature: the bright spots of pigmentation of the stone have clear edges. This cannot happen with natural stone. Moreover, the pigmentation of natural opals changes if you look at the stone from different angles; it seems to flow from one form to another and does not look like sparkles. Natural opal in jewelry Natural opals have soft transitions that do not repeat and change color from different viewing angles.

Opals doublets and triplets

Doublets and triplets of opals appear when several layers of rocks are glued together. Natural opal is glued on top, and a backing made of iron ore is placed on the bottom. In triplets, a clear glass dome is placed on top of this compound doublet. Why is this being done? Everything is very simple. In this way, you can “reanimate” the opal, or rather its thin slice, the remainder of the opal, creating a stone of a suitable size and shape. Naturally, such hand-made specimens do not have a high cost, since there is only one small plate of natural opal. It is easy to distinguish such stones; just look at the profile of the stone. Natural opal has no layers, but doublets and triplets are multi-layered.

Buy natural opal and don’t go wrong!

How to protect yourself in such a simple and complex matter at the same time as buying natural opal? First of all, if you are looking for a stone on the Internet, do not trust one-page sites (these are sites where you cannot go anywhere from the main page). They are made to sell 1-2 types of goods, such sites are very cheap and this is why scammers love them very much. Such a site is created quickly and inexpensively, and as soon as they collect orders, they can “kill” (delete) the site and you will never find those who sold you a fake. Second, and no less important note, we advise you to choose a large online store. The process of creating and constantly filling such a store is very expensive and long, so no one will risk their reputation and long-term painstaking work on their website. Preference should be given to specialized stores such as ours Topgems gem store, since it is in such stores that there is the necessary assortment of stones and jewelry and specialists who will help you choose what you need. A real store should have certificates for gemstones. It is clear that absolutely all stones cannot be sold with documents, since the only official state body for certification and issuance of documents for stones in Ukraine, the State Geological Center of Ukraine, cannot accept the entire assortment of the store. But at least one or two conclusions on this type of stone are enough to understand who you are dealing with. Certificates must be freely available on the store’s website. If you decide to buy natural opal in a stationary store or jewelry outlet in a shopping center, ask them for a certificate for the stones. And pay attention, the tag must indicate the type of stone and its weight in carats. If you have already purchased jewelry with opal and doubt its authenticity, you can submit it yourself to the Gemcenter for verification. To sum up: 1) Natural opal cannot be cheap 2) Opal does not have clear geometric shapes of its iridescence 3) You can buy natural opals in large stores without fear jewelry online stores 4) The most reliable test for naturalness is to contact the Gemcenter for a gemological examination. We hope that the article was useful to you:) (article in progress.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button