The other day i was browsing a respectable online shopping site and, because i specialize in real opal at the opalmine site, the announcement ‘genuine opal jewelry’ caught my attention. I am always interested in what my competitors are selling. It gives me an idea of what is in demand and what people like to see. Then i noticed the price of this top quality crystal opal that looked like it had come direct from the Coober Pedy Opalmines in Australia. click here to see some genuine crystal opals along with some boulders unset)
Unbelievably it was UNDER $50!! Of course the alarm bells rang immediately and i decided to take a closer look at this ‘bargain’ because stones like this sell for around $500. Many people would not read the fine print, being happy to go along with the initial ‘genuine opal’ claim, but reading further, the truth was offered for all to see. Yes it was genuine opal, but not NATURAL genuine opal. It was a genuine LAB opal, which means that the opal was created in a laboratory by gemstone chemists.
There are a few types of fake opals
but as far as i know there is only one fake that can be termed ‘synthetic’ opal and that is the one created by Pierre Gilson back in the 70’s. This opal closely resembles the real thing, being based on silicon. click here for a longer conversation about this
are based on both glass and plastic. Slocum stone is made from glass. Opalite from plastic. Both types are often called ‘opal Essence’ My investigations indicate that there is a huge amount of fake opal being sold on auction and other online jewelry sites that look for the world like the real thing at bargain prices. This article is not to undermine the synthetic stone industry because it has its place in the world of jewelry along with synthetic sapphires, rubies and other gemstones.
If you finances are limited, these products create a helpful niche in the jewelry industry, the same way that plastic shoes and flowers fill a need in the world of footwear and fashion. The reason for this article is to alert buyers that these fakes are on offer and they should be purchased with a proper understanding of what they are rather than to pay for something that is not what you think it is.
So when you see a beautiful ‘opal’ ring or pendant online at a really cheap price, read the description carefully and if the identification of the stone is not clear, be sure to ask the vendor before committing.
Feel free to give us your comments or questions on this subject in the blog provided