Opal triplets have fooled many people. Thinking they are buying an opal solid, the stone or jewelry piece is only a slice of opal that is enhanced. Don’t get me wrong; triplets have their place. If all you can afford is a triplet, go for it, I say but, buyer beware, if you are thinking you are buying a solid at an unbelievable price, look closely.
So what is an opal triplet?
An opal triplet is a slice of opal that enhanced by darkening the body tone and magnifying the slice of colour with a domed quartz or glass top. If the seller still calls it just opal, they are technically okay. HOWEVER, most reputable places will identify it as being enhanced. To not do so, in my opinion, is fraudulent.
From the first glance at the image above, you would not see or tell which one is natural and a triplet. However, here are a few tricks or features to look out for.
1. Obvious glue line where the pitch meets the color. Look along the side or edge of the opal with a loupe or magnifying glass and see if you can see a line that looks like blackened glue that has bonded two different materials together.
2. The opal top looks glassy, and the colour doesn’t travel all the way up. This could mean a clear dome has been attached on top to make it look better than it is.
3. Notice that there is a very thin layer of color, which is the only precious opal on the gemstone.
Compare with a solid opal.
Having said this, a solid black opal can have a line as well but usually not as uniform as a triplet opal. A natural black opal has black potch (common opal) on the back of the stone formed naturally to give the opal color its true black opal brilliance.