There are Three Main Natural Opal Types
When buying diamonds, sapphires or rubies, you have either a real one or a synthetic. But with opal you can buy an expensive solid stone, or you can buy a triplet or a doublet. Doublets and triplets are far more affordable than solid opals–and they are still real opal. So its good to get to know the differant natural opal types so you know what you are buying.
Dark and Black Opal – Natural Opal Types 1
A solid piece of opal with a natural dark or black back. This makes the foreground of the stone darker and opaque [non see-through] on top. Black and dark opals come in all color variations. This page of pendants features some black opal and opal doublets as well. you will notice that some really brilliant doublets are higher priced that some solid black opals. it all depends on the brightness and the quality of the stone itself. They are all natural opal types.
Pale Opal – Natural Opal Types 1
A sold piece of opal without a natural black back. The stone has a lighter, more delicate color on top. When translucent [letting light through] it is called ‘crystal’ When opaque [not see through] it’s called ‘white’, ‘pale’ or ‘milk’ opal. They come in all color variations. You will be able to see the natural light colored opal pendant here, standing out against the dark opals in this bunch of pendants.
Boulder dark and black Opal – Natural Opal Types 2
A solid piece of boulder opal with a natural brown ironstone back, giving it a dark opal appearance from the top. Boulder opals are also dark or black opals. They come in all color variations.Here are some examples of boulder opals that have been set ready to wear. The first three at the top are natural opal boulders. Leave a message at the bottom of this page if you want more explanation about these pendants
Composite Natural Opal
A solid piece of opal cemented to a natural black [potch] backing, giving the appearance of black opal on top and is opaque. Because of this dark appearance it falls into the category of dark or black opal. The stone is made of TWO pieces. Hence the name DOUBLET. Doublets come in all color variations. Doublets in the form of pendants are very popular. Here are some examples mixed with solid lights and dark opals.
Composite Natural Opal
A thin piece of opal cemented to a black background with a crystal cap cemented to the top. The stone is made of three pieces. Hence the name TRIPLET. Triplets come in all color variations. They are also categorized as dark or black opals and are opaque [non see-through] So they fit in with the natural opal types because they are really made of solid crystal opal sliced into layers. Triplets are also popular as pendants because they are still natural opal types. The first two lines of these opal pendants are triplets. Very popular because they are bright and inexpensive
Natural Opal Types 2
When small flecks of opal color is found scattered throughout the boulder ironstone, its called ‘matrix’ or ‘boulder matrix’ You will see an example of a boulder matrix triplet pendant set in silver in the second last row of this display of pendants on the extreme right. Its the one with bright green flashes in a brown background
Natural Opal Types 3
Andamooka Matrix is another variety of matrix opal. In this case the potch is porous enough to allow a dark staining process to take place, making the stone dark in appearance.
So the natural opal types are Dark and black opal, Pale opal which takes in white and crystal opal, Boulder Opal which includes boulder opal matrix, and Andamooka Matrix which is a natural treated opal. Then Opal Doublets And Triplet Opals which are still natural opal but have been set in a black or dark background, giving them the appearance of black opal.