Before getting into the details of what exactly synthetic opal is, it’s important to know what real opal is all about, and why anyone even thought of venturing into creating a synthetic version to begin with. Opal is a mineral that we use as gemstones, and it is known that the best opal gemstones out there range from approximately 65 to 145 million years old! While the much sought after black opal and over 90% of opal in general are found mainly in Australia, the rest come from countries like Mexico, Brazil, Ethiopia and Czechoslovakia. What’s so special about the opal gemstone is that no matter what color you find it in, they all have one thing in common- they deflect any incoming light in a way that makes them display all the colors in the spectrum and it’s really quite a special sight to see. It’s almost as if you can see galaxies within them. And these facts are a culmination of why many have taken to producing it synthetically. The time it takes them is insane, the places from which they can be gotten from are limited, and they could prove to be pricey to purchase.
How do they do it?
After years of strenuous research, scientists were finally able to figure out the beautiful chemical composition and structure of natural opals and by doing so, gave birth to the possibility to create Synthetic Opal so that the masses could really enjoy the magical value of this unique gemstone. It is extremely important to note though, that there is a difference between synthetic and replica opal
What’s the difference?
Synthetic opal is the complete chemical replication of the composition of what makes the gemstone so unique. Imitation opal, on the other hand, is merely just a replication of how the gemstone looks like, and most times, you can tell that it is not the real deal.
The different kinds of Synthetic Opal
There are quite a few varieties of this chemically replicated gemstone in the market, and they come in all shapes and sizes, and of course colors. There are however, two main kinds- black and white. You’ll find that the white will often cost more because of how it looks much more natural than the black. Recently, a new kind has come into the market, it’s been called the Monarch opal and it’s really been creating waves as it is unique in its color and appearance. You’ll also be surprised to know that there are now sheets of the synthetic version of opal being created to make different kinds of jewelry such as necklaces and bangles.
A new world of Precious Stone
The breakthrough of being able to manufacture this gemstone in a lab has really changed the game in the world of precious stones because people are becoming better at creating gemstones that look exactly like the real ones and sometimes, even better. At the end of the day, if you’re just after a certain look, then the chemical replica is the way to go. However, you have to keep in mind that the real deal still stands out and is still different and unique in its own way.