Opal Specialist Mini Course

Price: $49.95 USD
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Course Details

Beginner 4 Units 22 Lessons

About this Course

Attention all opal lovers! If you have found yourself mesmerized by the changing color patterns of this mineraloid, you'll love this course. Do a deep dive into the properties of opals to discover how they are formed and reflect light. Looking to purchase or sell an opal? Learn about different types of opals and how to properly care for them. Every opal enthusiast will learn something new in this course.

Who is this course for?

  • Hobbyists: Learn how to evaluate and care for opals
  • Consumers: Learn how to choose an opal for jewelry
  • Professionals: Think you know opals? Test your knowledge!

What this course offers

  • Brand new opal articles in our Reference Library, including a recent interview with renowned opal expert, Joel Ragan
  • Gain specialized knowledge on opals that will help you to build your gemology skills
  • Complete the mini-course at your own pace as you balance personal and professional commitments
  • Test your knowledge: To earn the IGS Opal Badge, take one 25 question quiz

Why take this course?

A flexible and affordable mini-course from one of the top online gemology schools.

Enroll in the IGS Opal Mini-course and gain specialized knowledge about one of the most popular and mysterious colored gemstones. Build expertise in 4 core areas — opal formation and properties, how to buy an opal, distinguishing opals from simulants and synthetics and grading opals — while learning through articles and visuals. This completely online mini-course is an affordable way to pursue your hobby or build a career in gemology.

Course Roadmap

Read the Lessons
Written Test
Earn Badge

Units and Lessons

Unit 1 - Introduction to Opals and Their Properties

Welcome to the world of opals! For thousands of years, these prized gems have inspired many legends and sparked the imaginations of jewelers and connoisseurs. In this unit, you’ll learn the science behind the distinctive optical and physical properties of opals as well as how to identify them and their many varieties. You’ll also learn how and where opals form and why they require special care during cutting and cleaning.

See Lessons (12)
Unit 2 - How to Choose an Opal

Since opal gems can have so many unique features, from phenomenal color play to striking patterns, buying them requires learning a new vocabulary. Help your customers make the best choice for their jewelry projects by explaining the quality factors that affect opal prices. Choosing an opal as an engagement ring stone can make a beautiful statement. However, you should also make sure your customers understand the best way to set their gem and protect their investment.

See Lessons (5)
Unit 3 - Distinguishing Opals from Synthetics and Simulants

The more expensive and popular a gemstone, the more likely you’ll encounter synthetics and simulants for sale, some very convincing. Opals are no exception. In this unit, you’ll learn how to identify lab-created opals and lookalikes. You can then confidently advise your customers if their opals are mined or synthetic as well as genuine or imitation.

See Lessons (2)
Unit 4 - Grading Opals

You’ll need to go beyond the Four Cs of color, clarity, cut, and carat to properly grade opals. In this unit, you’ll learn how to evaluate opal’s unique properties and write a standard appraisal or identification report. Opals are often set in assembled doublets or triplets and sometimes receive treatments to enhance their appearance and stability. Learn how to identify these processes and how they affect grading.

See Lessons (3)

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be assigned an instructor for the course?

The course is self-study. This means that all of the material is on our website, and the burden is on the student to follow the Syllabus to learn the material. The benefit of this approach is that each student can learn at his or her own pace, and on his or her own schedule. Students can take as long as they want to complete the quiz to earn the Opal Badge.

Won’t the self-study model be difficult if I’m a beginner?

For beginners we recommend following our structured Syllabus, however you may study the material in any order that suits you.

What is required to pass?

In order to earn the Opal Badge you must pass the quiz at the end of the course with a score of 87% or better. You may retake the exam an unlimited number of times until you pass.

How is the quiz administered?

All examinations are administered via online test-taking software accessed via your password-protected account on the IGS website.

Can I see a sample of the test questions?

Sure! We have some sample gemology questions from the actual IGS Professional Gemologist certification exam. This should give you a sense of the types of questions that we ask in our course exams and quizzes.

How long should it take me to complete the course?

The time it takes you to read all of the material and take the quiz depends on your level of interest, motivation, and time commitment. It can be done in a day, a week, or a month (or longer depending on your schedule!).

How does the IGS Opal Course compare with those offered by the GIA or similar organizations?

The GIA is an excellent organization. Their Graduate Gemologist degree is the most respected credential a person can hold in this industry. If you have the time and money, and are serious about a career in the gem industry, the GG course of study offered by the GIA should be your first choice. The IGS courses were created for everyone else. The founder of IGS and original author of the Professional Gemologist program, Donald Clark, has strong connections with the lapidary community. For years, he listened to amateurs giving inaccurate advice to others. For example, he heard things like: “If your blue stone has an RI of 1.625, then it is topaz, not aquamarine.” Those two properties, color and RI, also belong to tourmaline and a few rare minerals. Blue topaz and blue tourmaline have vastly different values. Not knowing the difference can be costly, in terms of both money and reputation. Donald Clark believed that the problem stemmed not from the well-meaning lapidary sharing his incomplete knowledge, but rather that there wasn’t anywhere to learn gem identification, short of taking (what was back then) a $3,000 course. For them, he created IGS. It is dedicated to all the gem cutters, collectors, jewelers, and others wanting to know more about gems but who do not have the resources to attend GIA.

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