Do you know your opals?
Do you know the difference between opals?
I am not talking colour, but rather structure.
There is a huge difference and it pays to know exactly what to look for.
You may have heard the terms "Doublet, Triplet and solid" used when talking about opals.
But what does this mean?
Solid opal - This is a specimen that is 100% opal, you can turn it at any angle and still see opal.
Only one "face" might be fully polished and this is the side designed to view.
Doublet opal - Opal doublets contain a thin sheet of precious opal, but this piece is cemented to ironstone or black potch backing.
Opal doublets provide the choice to buy a gorgeous opal gem at a lower price-point than solid opal.
Triplet opal - triplets contain opal that’s bonded to a backing. The key difference here is that the percentage of opal is very small. In fact, triplets contain only a thin piece of crystal opal.
Think of a triplet as a three-layer-sandwich. The bottom bun is ironstone or black potch, the top bun is made of plastic or quartz, and the middle is where the opal’s at!
One other version you may like to know about is "Boulder opal."
Boulder opals, as the name suggests, are mined from large ironstone boulders under the ground. Thin veins of colourful opal forms in cracks and fissures in these boulders. Because these veins of colour are so thin, opal cutters need to leave the ironstone on the back of the opal to form a full sized stone.