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 when spotting a fake opal.

Polish: Treated opal doesn’t have a high polish, resulting in ripples usually being present on the exterior of the gem.

Double-Sided: Natural black opals can be double-sided but are quite scarce. However, most treated opals are double-sided and cut with an obvious sharp edge from the dome to the back.

Primarily Black: Most treated opals contain a body tone of N1 or N2 with flecks of colour.

Green: The green in treated opals is a very distinct type of green and can be recognised easier when a comparison is made between a genuine opal and a treated opal.

Honeycomb Potch: This is a type of Ethiopian opal which displays a natural honeycomb pattern. This is a dead giveaway – nothing Australian has a honeycomb potch.

All opals are special and have their place in the world – as long as you know exactly what you are purchasing. Be sure to do your research and purchase from a reputable seller of opals and other gems.

Here is a similar video we made almost 10 years ago:

2 thoughts on “How to spot treated opal”

  1. Hi Justin
    I have followed you for a long time as i got hooked on black opal when i saw one 50 years ago, i’m in the UK.
    Today, i finally had a chance to watch one of your videos, about Etheopian opal, wow how interesing that was. Particularly as i’m trying to make jewellery (you must realise that it’s not high end stuff) and bought a load of this at a jewellery show in London about 4 years ago. I knew it was Ethiopian but i had no idea until just now how it behaves, i won’t be buying anymore! I spent quite a lot for a little old lady who is just starting out but hey ho, buyer beware, what’s done is done. I’ll have to think of items like brooches that don’t touch the skin much. I wonder if you could coat it with a clear nail varnish or other to stave off the colour change?
    How low is your lowest end range and do you ever send your stock to the UK for reps to sell or shows like the London one? I have no idea how the process of buying from Australia or elsewhere abroad would work. I just love opal though especially the black so i envy all your toys.
    Best wishes and thanks for the lesson..


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