So over the next few months in my blog (and the posts on our Instagram and Facebook), I will being walking you through how to find your perfect opal or opals. The first step in this process is to identify what sort of opal you are interested in. You will have four different options: natural solid opals; man-made doublets; man-made triplets and man-made synthetic opals. Above I have provided a quick guide to help you identify the difference between each different type. However if you are ever in doubt, please consult a gemmologist or an opal expert. Here at Broken River Mining, we only mine, cut and sell natural solid Australian Boulder opals.
It is also import to note a few additional things, if you are considering a doublet or triplet.
- Some dealers may still refer to doublet or triplets as "natural" opals because they have natural opal in them - so be very careful!
- The doublets and triplets are glued together and if exposed to water over time the glue can lift and the doublet or triplet can become colourless.
- They can be a good option because they should be much cheaper and calibrated easily. You just need to declare they are man-made.
- It is sometimes very hard to tell the difference between natural solid opals and doublets once they have been set because you can no longer see the sides - so buyers beware.
- To show your opal is natural we recommend keeping the back of your setting open because this can help identify the host rock. (Most doublets set into jewellery will have the backs closed.)
So in summary - no matter what your preferences are - always remember to explicitly ask what type of opal you are purchasing!
In my next blog post, I will be discussing why knowing the country and location your natural solid opal comes from is important too. Until then!