December 7, 2012

Opals - Real or Imitation?


My friends love to pick up shiny things that they find they think are a good deal.  In this case, my Mom bought me small bag of what appear to be opals at the swap meet.  I'm not very familiar with how to tell a real opal from an imitation- so I'm posting them here so someone can give an opinion.  One thing I am pretty sure of - they don't appear to be doublets since there is no seam on the edge.  They are also not very big - ranging in size from about 3 mm to maybe 9 mm.

For the most part, they are pretty fiery - as you can see in the picture.  The fire does range in color with a lot of green and pink - but also some blues.  There are also a few that seem dull - like the finish has worn away somehow.

Some of the stones were obviously part of something - since you can see glue lines on the backs of some of the stones.  That is the one indicator that makes me think they may not be real -  like they were part of a costume maybe?

So, does anyone have any tips on how to tell if they are real?  I'm willing to sacrifice one if I have to (only the ugly dull one though!)  I've got my fingers crossed that they are - they are so darn pretty!

4 comments:

  1. These look like white opals and possibly some 'jelly' (but still white) opals :) Doublets and triplets will have visible slices from the sides. Matrix opal (treated) tend to be dark. Looks like you got lucky!

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  2. Small opals were not very expensive several years ago; so these may be real. They certainly look that way to me. You have 3 large, 2 medium and three small ones that look to have fire. Opals are so soft that the others may need polishing or may be damaged by the years and not be very usable. Congratulations to your Mom for her find!

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  3. Those sure look real to me. Here are a couple of links that might help:

    http://www.yourgemologist.com/syntheticopal.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uSZRoAfMgM

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  4. lisa what looks like glue may have been where they used epoxy or wax to hold it on the dauping stick when they were being polished and shaped. And they do look real to me.
    Ronda Sherwood

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