Is it a Real Opal?
How can you tell if the opal you are getting is a real opal?
How do you know you are getting what you paid for.
Synthetic opals exist as well as mixed stones or partially man made stones.
Here are some ways of telling of the opal you have or are considering buying is genuine.
Firstly there are partially made opals called doublets and triplets. Here a thin opal is underlaid with other material such as crystal or quartz and overlaid with another transparent substance. Also ironstone can be used as a backing.
Check the stone for the following.
Does it have a white body tone or look transparent? 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 genuine.
The side should not have 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 even sometimes.
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 possible not a natural one. Even opal experts 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.
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 anmd a guarantee that if it is not what was advertised you can return it.