Part 3 of a 3 part series on Opal Jewelry
You don’t need to know all about opals to buy one but there are some things to watch for when buying opals includes firstly that the opal is genuine.
All opals should come with a certificate authenticating the genuineness of the opal. This applies to opals set in rings and other jewelry and not just loose opals as well of course.
Note that there are partially made opals called doublets and triplets. With these, a thin opal is under laid with other material such as crystal or quartz and overlaid with another transparent substance. Also ironstone is often used as a backing.
When you are inspecting an opal always check the opal for the following:
Does it have a white body tone or look transparent? If so this is a good sign. Doublets and triplets are dark in tone so if it is all white in body tone it is more than likely a genuine article.
The side should not have any visible “layers” A triplet usually has a thin opal between two other materials the top being transparent.
Check the back also to see if it feels like hard plastic. Is there something glued to the back of the opal? There should be nothing on the back of an opal (bounder opals are an exception, see boulder opal).
In addition natural genuine opals will seem irregular and not perfect around the circumference which an artificial opal is. You can feel irregularities and bumps if you run a sensitive finger around the opal.
If the opal is already set in jewellery also be very careful as it is not always possible to see the back. If you cannot see the back of the opal it is quite possibly not a natural one. Even opal experts can have a hard time checking this.
Check out real opals from an opal shop before you buy. Find out what a real opal looks and feels like. Gain some familiarity with opals, It always pays to become educated and do your due diligence before you buy.
If you have an opal you are not sure about take it to a gemologist or an opal expert. There are some listed in the links section of this website.
lastly always only buy opals from someone who has gemological qualifications and or at least is a member of a gemological association. Reputable dealers will be responsible and are answerable to the association to which they belong. Also ensure that you get a certificate of authenticity for every opal you buy and a guarantee that if it is not what was advertised then you can return it.
Following the above will go a long way to ensuring that you buy genuine opal jewelry and have many year of enjoyment with it.