A Guide to Opal Jewelry
A Guide to Opal Jewelry
by: Katie Trachtenberg
Opal is a dazzling, luminescent semi-precious gemstone that exists in a vast collection of shimmering hues. The price point for authentic opal is quite high, so many fashion jewelry designers like GoBeachy opt instead for synthetic opal. Synthetic opal is virtually indistinguishable from real opal, and it allows more wearers to have access to this sparkling stone at a reasonable price point. In this guide, we discuss the composition, common usage, and care instructions for synthetic opal jewelry, so you can make the best decision when choosing a piece that’s right for you.
While true opal occurs naturally, synthetic opal is created in a laboratory setting. Both types of opal are composed of silica, which provide the stone with its unique aesthetic properties. Synthetic opal resembles genuine opal almost identically in its appearance, structure, and physical properties. Also known as “lab-grown” or “cultured opal,” synthetic opal can be very difficult to distinguish from natural opal – even for seasoned gemologists!
When looking at a piece of opal jewelry, you may notice that its colors seem iridescent – they appear to glow and change as light touches its surface from different angles. Both natural and synthetic opals exhibit this remarkable trait known as “play of color.” Light travels through the opal’s millions of silica spheres and becomes diffracted; this results in the gem’s hallmark rainbow-like appearance.
Some jewelry makers prefer to incorporate synthetic opals that mirror the blue, green, red, yellow, brown, and white opals found commonly in nature. Other artists leverage opals that appear more cosmic and neon, like vibrant pinks, purples, and oranges. At GoBeachy, we love opals that echo the deep, shimmering blue-green waters of the Caribbean. As we always say, GoBeachy or go home!
The opals are brilliant. The very first day, I received compliments and was asked where I purchased them. These are very unique, something you just are not going to find in your everyday department store.
Synthetic opal is delightfully affordable thanks in part to the way it’s produced. Large batches of synthetic opal can be cut down into smaller pieces that are featured in jewelry, making synthetic opal widely available without compromising its stunning beauty. At GoBeachy, our synthetic opal pieces start as low as $15.95.
Why Gift Opal?
As one of the most sought-after gems in the world, opal captures nature's beauty with its hallmark rainbow-like appearance. At GoBeachy, we love opals that echo the deep, shimmering blue-green waters of the Caribbean. Check out our top gifts here!
Stylish & sensible shopping.
Uniqueness in every gem.
Captures the Ocean
A stunning resemblance to ocean waves.
Care & Cleaning
When cleaning your synthetic opal jewelry, use a damp soft cloth and a mild soap. While natural opal can withstand submersion in water, avoid dunking your synthetic opal for any duration – it is made of several layers of silica that are adhered together, and water can seep in between the layers, dulling its sparkling appearance over time. Be sure to avoid ultrasonic cleaners for this same reason, as the vibrations from the mechanism can cause water penetration into the stone.
Always remove your opal jewelry before exercising, showering, swimming, or doing household chores. Chemicals and prolonged exposure to water can damage your stone’s surface.
When storing your synthetic opal jewelry, place it in a soft bag. Unlike natural opal, which actually needs to be stored in a somewhat humid environment, synthetic opal can be stored safely in your jewelry box without additional considerations.
Opal jewelry is perfect for any beach-lover. Its vibrant blue-green colors and luminous, iridescent glow gives wearers the feeling that they are carrying a little piece of the ocean with them wherever they go. Shop GoBeachy’s opal collection today to find the perfect piece for your jewelry box.