How to Spot Real Opals: Expert Tips and Tricks

To tell if opal is real, look for play of color and transparency. Opals should also have uneven surfaces and natural inclusions.

Opals are one of the most coveted gemstones in the world. Their unique play of color and mesmerizing beauty have captured the hearts of people for centuries. However, with such popularity comes the risk of imitation and fraud. It is important to know how to differentiate between real and fake opals.

This can be done by examining the stone for certain characteristics such as color, transparency, inclusions, and surface. In this article, we will discuss how to tell if opal is real, and what to look for when buying these precious gems.

How to Spot Real Opals: Expert Tips and Tricks


Factors To Consider When Spotting Real Opals

Opals are a unique gemstone, with a stunning array of colors that can mesmerize anyone who lays eyes on them. However, not all opals are created equal, as there are factors to consider when determining if an opal is real or not.

We will discuss the important factors to consider when spotting real opals, so that you can make an informed decision before purchasing one.

Opal Formation Process

Opals are formed from a combination of silicon dioxide and water, which is why they are often found in areas with high levels of rainfall or near bodies of water. While most gemstones were formed deep beneath the earth’s surface, opals are unique as they are formed in cavities within rocks.

This means that when looking for real opals, you should look for ones that have irregular shapes, as they are often formed in a way that conforms to the shape of the cavity they were formed in.

Light Diffusion, Refraction, And Colors

One of the most distinguishing features of opals is the play of color, which is caused by the way light travels through the microstructure of the stone. When examining a potential opal, hold it up to a light source and observe the colors and patterns that are visible.

Some red flags to look for include a lack of play-of-color, a white or gray body color, or a color pattern that looks too repeatable or predictable. A genuine opal will display a range of colors that shift depending on the angle of the light source.

Hardness Of The Stone

Another factor to consider when determining the authenticity of an opal is its hardness. Opals have a mohs hardness scale rating of 5. 5-6. 5, which means they are relatively soft compared to other gemstones. If a potential opal has a hardness rating that is too high, it may be an imitation stone.

Additionally, real opals are fragile and can be easily scratched or chipped, so it is important to handle them carefully.

Determining whether an opal is real can be a daunting task, but by considering these factors, you can make a well-informed decision. Always remember that when purchasing an opal, it is best to buy from a reputable and knowledgeable dealer who can provide you with all the necessary information about the stone.

Happy shopping!

The 4Cs Of Opals

Opals are one of the most captivating gemstones due to their striking colors and patterns. As with any precious stone, there is a significant difference in quality between natural opals and their imitations. The best way to ensure you’re buying the real deal is by using the 4cs of opals.


Opals are renowned for their vibrant hues and iridescence. The most valuable opals are those with a full spectrum of colors, commonly known as ‘play of color. ‘ The intensity and distribution of colors are crucial indicators of their quality and value.

Natural opals with blue or green tones are highly prized, whereas those with yellow, orange, or red hues tend to be less valuable.


Opals are known for their unique internal structure, which can create patterns known as ‘fire. ‘ However, it can also result in inclusions or blemishes that can affect the stone’s durability and transparency. Natural opals with a clear or nearly clear body are the most sought-after, while those with visible blemishes or fractures may be of lower quality.


The cut of an opal refers to its shape, proportions, and finish, and can significantly impact its brilliance and color. Opals are commonly cut into cabochons, which is a rounded, polished shape that creates a smooth surface and enhances the play of color.

A well-cut opal with a symmetrical shape will command a higher value.


Opals, like other gemstones, are weighed in carats. However, unlike other precious stones, the carat weight does not necessarily correlate with its value. Instead, factors such as color, clarity, and cut have a more significant influence on its worth. Generally, larger opals are more valuable than smaller ones, but only if they have superior quality in the other areas of the 4cs.

By following the 4cs of opals in your purchasing decisions, you’ll ensure you’re getting a high-quality and valuable gemstone, while avoiding the disappointment of buying an imitation. Remember, a genuine opal will always be a timeless and cherished addition to any jewelry collection.


Tools And Techniques To Help You Spot Real Opals

Opals are stunning gemstones that can be found in many different colors, including white, black, pink, and blue. But with so many counterfeit gemstones on the market, it can be challenging to determine whether an opal is real or fake.

Fortunately, there are several tools and techniques to help you spot real opals, such as:

Ultraviolet (Uv) Light Tests

  • Real opals will emit a glow under ultraviolet light, while synthetic or imitation opals will not produce any light.
  • Use a uv light to inspect the opal for any unusual inclusions, patterns, or spots.
  • A real opal will appear uniform in color, while a fake one will display an inconsistent color pattern.

Magnification And Loupe Use

  • Use a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe to observe the color and structure of the opal.
  • A real opal will have natural-looking cracks, while a fake one will not.
  • Look for visible cracks or fissures in the gemstone, which can be a sign of its authenticity.

Black Light Test

  • Real opals will emit a bright bluish-white color under black light while a fake opal will not.
  • Hold the black light close to the opal to check for luminescence.
  • If the opal fluoresces bright, then it is a natural and real one.

Water Immersion Test

  • A real opal won’t be damaged or discolored when submerged in water.
  • Fill a small glass with water and immerse the opal in it for at least 24 hours.
  • If the opal retains its color, then most likely it is a real one.

By using the tools and techniques mentioned above, you can easily discern whether an opal is real or fake. These methods are not only effective but also budget-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your precious gemstone.

Where To Buy Real Opals

Opals are mesmerizing gemstones that people have been using for centuries to create exquisite jewelry pieces. However, with so many imitations in the market, it is essential to know how to tell the difference between a real opal and a fake one.

We will focus on where to buy real opals to ensure authenticity.

Choosing Reputable Dealers

The first step in buying real opals is to choose a reputable dealer. This is crucial as it ensures you buy genuine stones and get value for your money. Consider the following when selecting dealers:

  • Check reviews and ratings online from other customers
  • Look for certification of authenticity from recognized gemology institutions
  • Confirm the dealer’s experience and existing client base
  • Check their return policy in case of any unsatisfactory purchase

Researching Opal Online

Apart from shopping physically at jewelry stores, you can easily buy opals online. Doing online research is vital to ensure you get real opals and avoid scams. Here are some tips for researching opal online:

  • Search for opals on reputable websites such as amazon or etsy
  • Check if the dealer has a website with proper product descriptions, high-quality images, and contact information
  • Look for reviews from other customers to evaluate their satisfaction
  • Check the listed price against other market prices to determine if it’s reasonable

Knowing When To Walk Away

While buying opals, knowing when to walk away is essential to avoid wasting money on fake stones. If you notice the following, consider leaving the deal:

  • Unbelievably low prices that are too good to be true
  • Poor-quality images that don’t give a clear view of the opals
  • Lack of certification authenticity
  • Vague or incomplete product descriptions

Buying real opals can be a challenging process, but with these tips, you can make an informed decision. Ensure you choose a reputable dealer, research online and be prepared to walk away if you aren’t satisfied. Happy shopping!

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Tell If Opal Is Real

What Is Opal?

Opal is a beautiful gemstone formed from silica and water. It has a play of color that shimmers in the light.

How Can You Tell If Opal Is Real?

The easiest way to tell if an opal is real is to look at the color. A genuine opal will have a vibrant play of color, while a fake one will look dull.

What Are The Types Of Opal?

The most common types of opal include white, black, boulder, fire, and crystal opals. Each type has its unique characteristics and value.

Can Opal Change Color?

An opal can change its color depending on the angle of viewing, the light source, and the background it is viewed against. This phenomenon is called play of color.

Is Opal Rare?

Opals are not as rare as other gemstones, but they are still relatively uncommon. The value of an opal depends on its type, color, and pattern.

How Do You Care For Opal Jewelry?

Opals are delicate and require gentle care. Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures, chemicals, and high pressure. Clean them with a soft cloth and mild soap.


Determining the authenticity of an opal requires patience and a keen eye for detail. From analyzing the color and clarity to studying its patterns and inclusions, there are several factors to consider. It is vital to remember that not all opals are created equal, and many are cleverly manipulated to look like the real deal.

Moreover, consulting with a reputable jeweler and conducting research on the source of the opal can protect you against purchasing a fake stone. In the end, owning a piece of opal jewelry or adding an opal to your collection can be a delightful experience.

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can feel confident that your opal is genuine and hold a true gemstone that will be cherished for years to come. If you want to more information please visit the link


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