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How to spot treated opal

This week Justin will take you through some obvious and not so obvious differences between natural Australian black opal and treated black opal. Key factors on how to spot a fake — Polish — treated opal doesn’t have a high polish, ripples are usually present on the outside of the gem. Double-Sided — natural black opals can be double-sided but most treated opals are double-sided and are cut with an obvious sharp edge from the dome to the back. Red on Black — when you see a lot of black in the gem it’s a red flag — most treated opals sit around an N1 or N2 with flecks of…

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I smoked an Ethiopian opal

Smoke treating an Ethiopian opal

Ethiopian opal is beautiful but very different to Australian opal. Today, I show you how Ethiopian opal can be treated to look like glass or even turned black! Quick and important disclaimer: the opal in this video is hydrophane opal, most of which comes out of Ethiopia, not sedimentary opal, which is what Australian opal is. I get questioned daily on whether an opal is real or fake, worth the money or a waste of time and I get it! Buying a gem online can be confusing; there are so many marketplaces, listings, types, and prices. Ethiopian opal is a beautiful gemstone, often used as a cost-effective way to make…

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Synthetic opal or not? These opals need testing!

While I was in Tucson this year I cam across some opal that had me stumped for a while. At first I thought it was synthetic opal but then came to a conclusion. Before I make my mind up they need testing. So will be sending them away for lab testing to see what they really are. I did think they were synthetic opals and I have an article and video on them here but now I am not so sure. If they were they would be pretty incredible as they have color bars. I will be sending them to Tony Smallwood for testing within the next few days. Have a…

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