How To Tell If An Opal Is Real

Opals have captivated human hearts for centuries, representing mystery, charm, and a rainbow in solid form. At Perry's Diamonds & Estate Jewelry, our passion for these gemstones is deeply rooted in our extensive history as one of the nation's finest antique and estate jewelers. In this blog, we'll uncover how to differentiate a genuine opal from its many imitations.

Understanding the Basics of Opals

  • Formation and Types of Natural Opals: Opals are nature's marvels formed over millions of years. They undergo a unique process that is nothing short of a geological ballet.
  • Common Synthetic or Imitations: Many are unaware that there are imitations like doublets, triplets, and lab-created opals in the market.
  • Physical Inspection: The First Step in Verification
  • Color Play: Genuine opals mesmerize with a random play of colors. On the other hand, synthetic opals may have more organized, repetitive patterns.
  • Pattern Examination: No two natural opals are identical. Their patterns are unique, whereas imitations may showcase a predictable design.
  • Checking the Back: A real opal isn't perfectly flat on its back. If you see a clear separation line, you might be looking at a doublet or triplet.
  • Specific Tests to Determine Authenticity: Perry's Expert Methods

At Perry's Diamonds & Estate Jewelry, our team of GIA Graduate Gemologists and personal property appraisers utilize various techniques to ensure an opal's authenticity:

  • Water Test: Genuine opals don’t turn transparent when soaked. If yours does, it might be a doublet.
  • Light Test: When you shine a light on a real opal, the refraction will be different from that of its imitations.
  • Temperature Test: A hallmark of a genuine opal is its temporary color change when warmed, a phenomenon not seen in most fakes.
  • Scratch Test: Real opals have a distinct softness. Many imitations will resist scratches more defiantly.
  • Professional Assessment: Consult with the Experts

The best way to ensure your opal's authenticity? Consult with professionals. Perry's Diamonds & Estate Jewelry boasts a qualified staff with expertise in various aspects of the jewelry industry, including jewelry repairs and insurance appraisals. We recommend always seeking an expert's opinion, especially for significant investments.

Tips on Buying Opals

  • Buy from Reputable Dealers: Like Perry's Diamonds & Estate Jewelry, where authenticity meets craftsmanship.
  • Ask for Certification: A piece of paper can speak volumes about an opal's origin and authenticity.
  • Terminology Awareness: Be cautious if you come across terms like "synthetic", "lab-created", or "man-made".


At Perry's Diamonds & Estate Jewelry, our commitment to education, transparency, and unparalleled service is unwavering. Whether you're exploring custom jewelry designs or seeking a reliable personal property appraiser, you're in capable hands with us.

Interested in further exploring the world of opals and other gemstones? Visit our showroom or schedule an appointment with our expert team.

For more insightful blogs and expert tips, visit our blog page.

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