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Lab Created Opal Information

Lab Created Opal vs. Natural Opal

The lab created opal you see commonly used in colorful opal rings and jewelry is very similar in chemical composition to natural opal.  The biggest difference is natural opal contains a small amount of water trapped in the structure of the opal and laboratory grown opal contains no water, but instead a polymer resin is added.  This resin gives the lab created opal in your ring more strength, flexibility and durability and greatly reduces the chances of the opal crazing or cracking like some natural opal.  Another difference between lab grown opal and natural opal is the size of the color flashes.  The color pattern is typically larger and more uniform in lab created opal than natural opal.  The uniformity of the pattern is usually an indicator that the opal is lab created.  

Breaking Up the Uniformity

To give your lab opal ring a more "natural" look, Hileman Silver Jewelry takes great care when cutting the opal to carefully select areas of the rough with the least uniformity and most unique color pattern.  We also rotate the slices and cut at varying angles to break up the uniformity of the patterns.  This process takes more time and creates more waste but the finished product is an amazing lab created opal ring that mimics the fire and colors of the best natural opal.  Lab created opal rings and jewelry offer all the colors and beauty of natural opal at a much more affordable price.

How Durable is Lab Created Opal? 

Laboratory grown opal is similar in hardness to top quality Australian opal at 6.5 on the Moh's scale.  Lab created opal has better durability because it is infused with polymer resin giving it some flex which helps it hold up better to impacts than natural opal and resist chipping and cracking.  Lab opal rings are suitable for daily wear as long as you take some special care to avoid hard impacts and remove your ring before rough activities.  Read our lab opal ring care page for information about how to care for your new opal ring.

What Are My Lab Opal Color Options?

Laboratory grown opal is created in various colors ranging from white based pastels to black based multi-colored patterns that rival some of the best black opal from Australia. Blue-green is probably the most common, but we stock some really wild color options for the bold.  We have quite a selection of lab opal colors to choose from with even more options available by custom order.  See all of our opal color options on our Lab Opal Color Options Page and then go check out our stunning top-quality lab opal rings!  Our Lab Opal Ring Photos page has some great examples of the opal color options.

Lab created opal rough

Example of a rough piece of lab created opal.

Questions? Call us at (623) 518-6588

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