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Opal gems are gorgeous and
available in quite a few colors and types. If you leave the
famous fire opal gemstone aside, most opal gems are either
transluscent or opaque. Fire opal can exhibit a high degree of
transparency, something that is not common in opals. You will
often come across two terms when talking about opals they are,
opal doublet and opal triplet. In this report we will try to
explain the meaning of an opal doublet without getting too
technical. At Kai Silver we can custom make your opal gem
stone jewelry with the opal of your choice, the report is
therefore unbiased and presents facts without any sales
One of the common opal gemstone
varieties is the white opal. The beauty and grace of a white
opal makes it appear far more valuable than what it's modest
price tag would suggest. An opal doublet does two very good
things to white opal gemstones, these work to the advantage of
the buyer in the longterm. However misunderstandings about the
meaning of opal doublets, often keeps buyers away from these
|An opal doublet is a combination of a natural opal
gemstone and a sturdy backing. The backing which is
ideally a black opaque gem like an onyx or agate,
enhances the strength and appearance of the opal.
Kaisilver opal rings and other opal gem stone jewelry
can be made with normal opal gems or opal doublets,
specify your requirements when placing the order.
We would like to clarify that not
all white opal gems get prettier when made into opal doublets.
If you have a white opal gem that is almost totally opaque and
with no color flashes or specks, an opal doublet would make
the gem sturdier but would not add to it's beauty in any way.
The ideal white opal gem for making an opal doublet would be
one which has a fair amount of color flashes AND is also a bit
transluscent. You will see the importance of the color
flashes and transluscence as you read through this
If you observe the white opal gem
shown in the above image, it is cut with a smooth cabachon
cut. The gemstone is flat at the base and a bit curved
(humped) on the top. As a plain opal and without the attached
base, the cut opal stone is not very thick. Opals can crack or
break when they hit against hard surfaces. These are natural
properties of the gem, the fact that the cut opal is not very
thick also increases the chance of the opal getting damaged.
To make an opal doublet, the gem
manufacturer takes a piece of black onyx or
agate and cuts it to a thin sheet. In today's world
we have noticed Chinese opal doublets and triplets using cheap
plastic sheets for the base. While this is not against the
law, it does seem to drastically reduce the value of the opal
gemstone. A more traditional method used to make opal doublet
gems is to use a thin slice of the rock, on
which an opal is naturally formed. This is referred to as a
'boulder' and is generally a very dark brownish to black
color. In our opinion, the meaning of an opal doublet should
imply the use of a natural stone for the
What you have read so far proves
that, opal doublets have better strength and durability as
compared to plain cut opals. Let us now understand how the
beauty or appearance of the opal can be enhanced by making an
opal doublet gemstone. Once again observe the opal doublet
image shown above, you will notice that the color flashes are
clear and contrast well with the slightly darkish background.
They would surely be less visible on a plain white background.
A fair degree of transluscence on the white
opal, allows the dark color of the attached base to 'seep' in
through the gem. This is what darkens the background and
allows a better display of the color specks and flashes. If
you remember we mentioned that, transluscence of the white
opal is necessary.
We have made much reference to
white opal doublets in this report, but it is not only
white opals that are converted to opal doublets. An
expensive black or dark color opal gemstone could also be made
into an opal doublet gemstone. In this case, the appearance of
the opal might not benefit much from becoming a doublet but,
the strength of the gem would surely be enhanced. The fact is
that white opals show the best improvement in terms of beauty
and strength when made into doublets.
Before we wind up this report on
the meaning and properties of opal doublet stones, we will say
a few things about opal triplets. If you have
understood that an opal doublet has two layers, it is quite
easy to comprehend that an opal triplet would have three
layers. Although opal triplets and opal doublets have much
in common, the difference is something that you need to
be aware of.
An opal doublet has a natural opal
on top and is fixed with a dark and strong backing. An opal
triplet is more like a sandwhich. You have a thin slice of
opal mounted with a dark backing and a transparent material on
top. It is true that an opal triplet protects the opal from
above and below but, the important thing is that there is
often very little opal in the final product.
This is because the slice of opal set between the two layers
is often made very thin. Commercially manufactured opal
triplet stones have a sheet of opal that is wafer thin. If you
had to weigh this fine sheet of opal, it would weigh no more
than half a carat. So what you finally pay for opal triplets
is more for the above and below binding materials, a sad story
Still on opal triplet gems, is the
type of material used to make the top and
bottom portions of the stones. A few years ago or probably a
decade ago, the whole process of making opal triplet gems was
quite acceptable. The bottom portion was a dark natural stone
like onyx, agate or even a piece of boulder (rock). The top
was a piece of natural white quartz or white topaz. In todays
world the Chinese have excelled in the production of opal
triplets with resin backs and plastic or acrylic tops.
Technics are used to cut the slice of opal as thin as
possible. If you had to buy a 14x10mm oval opal triplet
gem, you could pay around 10 U.S$ to 15 U.S$ for the piece.
The stone might be rated with a weight of around 6 carats. But
what actually happens is that you get about half a carat of
opal, the remaining 5.5 carats are cheap plastic or resin! The
piece would have cost the manufacturer around 1 U.S$ to 2 U.S$
to manufacture, a huge profit margin indeed.
So before you make a choice of an
opal doublet or opal triplet gem stone, try to understand the
implication and meaning of the stones. Unfortunately the big
sellers of gems and jewelry, hold back important information.
It is felt that a fair and clean disclosure would discourage
the buyer from buying the product. At Kaisilver we believe
that the buyer needs to be educated and not pushed, into
making an impulse buying decision.
This opal doublet
report has been compiled by the gem experts at Kaisilver. We
do hope that you have found it to be useful and interesting.
At Kaisilver we custom make jewelry in gold and sterling
silver with all gem stone options. Our support team at
firstname.lastname@example.org will be
glad to guide you with any doubts or requirements that you
might have. We can custom make your jewelry with your designs
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