Synthetic Opal Types
Distinguishing synthetic opal from a mined gem is a vital skill for opal dealers. Learn about five different types of lab-made opal and what they look like.
3 Minute Read
What is Synthetic Opal?
In this article, we’ll cover synthetic opals. However, if you think your specimen isn’t genuine mined material, you’ll need to consider opal simulants as well. These are non-opal materials that look like opal.
As with any gemstone, it’s important to know whether the material is mined or lab-made. This distinction has a significant impact on price. Furthermore, if you’re a vendor, you must know the origins of the gemstone in order to give an honest description of your wares and comply with FTC guidelines. Synthetic opals can be very beautiful, but it’s important that customers understand what they’re buying.
After the discovery of opal’s structure, which consists of nano-scale spheres, scientists sought to replicate its beauty in the lab.
These synthetics have columns of color easily visible, even to the naked eye. If the opal cabochon surface lies…
A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.
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