Natural Opals

Crystal Opal

Crystal opal is a translucent gemstone with a range of colors, including blue, green, and red fire. Its transparent body allows it to display different appearances against various colored backgrounds. To observe the opal's fire more clearly, it is often viewed on a black base. Read more about Crystal Opal.

Violet Opal

Violet opal is a type of opal characterized by its pure, translucent body with a vibrant purple hue. This classification is unique to Michelle Yuen Jewelry. Click here for more information about Violet Opal.

Milky Opal

Milky opal has a milky-white base color. Its body is generally opaque or semi-transparent, with the milky-white appearance enhancing its fire. Learn more about Milky Opal.

Semi-Processed Opals

Doublet Opal

Doublet opal is a type of opal that has been artificially processed. During the mining process, natural opals can be found in varying thicknesses. Some opals have a play-of-color that is better suited to be presented in a double layer. Jewelers will choose to process these opals into doublets.

Doublet opals are typically made by gluing a thin slice of crystal opal or milky opal onto a natural boulder opal that does not have any play-of-color. This makes the play-of-color more prominent. Therefore, the play-of-color in doublet opals is not artificially enhanced in any way. Additionally, since both the opal slice and the boulder opal are completely natural, they are still sold by the carat when sold as loose stones.

Comparatively speaking, doublet opals can be purchased at a reasonable price, yet they possess a play-of-color that is similar to that of boulder opals or even black opals. Of course, there are occasional doublets that do not use boulder opal as the base stone. When purchasing doublet opals, it is important to choose a reputable jewelry store.

Triplet Opal

Triplet opal is another type of opal that has been artificially processed. It is made by bonding a layer of black glass to the bottom, a layer of natural opal slice in the middle, and a layer of transparent cabochon glass to the top.

Due to the relatively low hardness of opal (5-6.5), some opal rough may already have many cracks when it is mined. Opals with cracks cannot be sold as loose stones after being cut and polished in the usual way. The triplet opal process can use opal rough that has already cracked to create triplet opals.

Since the bottom layer of glass protects the opal slice in the middle, triplet opals are more convenient to wear. However, since the majority of the weight of a triplet opal is glass, it is the most affordable type of opal. Triplet opals also have a prominent play-of-color due to their dark bottom layer.

Other Doublet or Triplet Opals

As the names suggest, doublets and triplets refer to the number of layers in an opal. However, in addition to using the aforementioned boulder opal and glass as the second/third layer, other gemstones can also be used, such as smoky quartz and rose quartz.

Doublet and triplet opals made using this process do not add or color the opal's play-of-color in any way, and they retain their most natural appearance.

Man-made Opal

Man-made opals include both lab-grown opals (aka sythetic opals) and imitations. These are created artificially, often using plastic or other materials with colored layers to mimic the dazzling play-of-color seen in natural opals. Man-made opals offer a much more affordable alternative to genuine opals, making them popular for jewelry, crafts, and decorative items. However, it's important to remember that they don't have the same preciousness or rarity as opals formed naturally within the earth. Learn more about Man-made Opal.

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