You’re at the right place if you want to know the difference between opalite and opal. Read on!
Opalite Vs Opal
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about opal and opalite along with answering some of the most frequently asked questions including:
- Fake opalite vs real opalite?
- Are opal stones durable?
- Is opalite authentic opal?
Let’s get right into it, shall we?
Key Differences between Opalite and Opal
Here are some of the main differences between opalite and opal:
- Opals are valuable owing to their play of color while opalites can be natural materials with no imitations or play of color.
- Natural opalite and manmade opalite are quite different while natural opal and synthetic opal have the same properties.
- Opalite can either be imitation opal or natural opal while opal can be natural or lab created.
- Lab created opal is a real gemstone while manmade opalite is usually made of metal and glass.
Origin – Opal Vs Opalite
Opal gemstones are formed from a solution of water and silicon dioxide. They’re found in water deposits. The minerals tumble through the water and mixes with silicon dioxide spheres when it flows in different areas. The silicon dioxide spheres mix with hot water on earth then it evaporates.
Opal usually picks up different minerals along the way probably mixed with other materials and gemstones. Some of the small spheres that tend to pick up minerals include agate opal, jasper opal, opalized petrified wood and opalized wood. Opals have been in use since time immemorial.
Opal is the birthstone for those born in October and a national gem in Australia. Australia is also the biggest opal deposit in the world and home to Lighting Ridge’s black opals. What’s more, you can find a wide variety of opals in different countries including Mexico, Ethiopia and India.
Opalite are common opals which typically means real opals without play of color and imitation opal. For the most part, imitation opalite is usually made of glass with no traces of opal. It can also be a combination of resin, plastic and glass.
Opalite is the trade name for imitation or fake opal although it’s usually referred to as common opal. You can find opalite where opal materials are found. However, anyone who deals with glass materials can make imitation opalite.
Appearance – Opalite Vs Opal
Opal comes in a wide range of variety along with natural opalite often known as common opal. To better display their play of color, opals are usually cut en cabochon. You’ll also come across faceted opal pieces but they’re invaluable and Mexican opal is an exception.
Mexican opals are faceted and equally valuable. The opal material is quite valuable owing to its fiery orange hue and that’s where the name “fire opal” was derived from.
You’ve probably come across natural opal stones with milky white base color. The stone is supposed to display a rainbow pattern but that depends on the cabochon cut quality. Opals show a wide range of patterns. Generally, opals are valued based on how strong and big they are.
Technically, black opals aren’t entirely black as they have a dark blue base. Some are a bit darker since they have gray secondary hues. These stones usually have strong play of color which makes them more valuable especially when it comes to true opal materials.
Imitation and Synthetic Opals
Synthetic opals are also known as lab created or lab grown opals. Not only do they have the same chemical properties but also optical and physical properties. They tend to display brilliant patterns that gives natural opal stones a run for their money.
Imitation opal, on the other hand, is typically opalite stones albeit with no opal. Moonstones can also double up as imitation gemstones but unlike opal, they exhibit adularescence as opposed to play of color.
Natural opalite doesn’t have play of color that’s why common opal doesn’t have the same value as other opal stones. You can cut them en cabochon but that beats the purpose of showcasing the natural beauty of the stone. Plus, it can be cut in higher domed cabochon or faceted.
Opalite occurs in different colors including green, purple and lavender hues coupled with a cat’s eye effect. It’s quite difficult to get hold of cat’s eye material although it’s not as valuable. It tends to occur in milky white base color with different shades of the colors named above.
Imitation opal and opalite made of pretty glass and other different materials occur in the shade they’re built in. Most of the times, it’s said to resemble moonstones or translucency opal.
Imitation and Synthetics
Opalite is one of the most common manmade gemstones available on the market today as opposed to its lower quality counterparts. Plus, it’s made of a wide range of materials.
Price and Value – Opalite Vs Opal
The actual grading system of opals is more complicated than that of opalite. Besides, opalite is technically an opal grade on its own. Manmade opalite is affordable but doesn’t have a great resale value.
Natural opalite and common opals are the same which means they’re not as valuable. Their price ranges from $1 to $65 per carat. However, opalite cat’s eye is a little bit expensive. The average cost of white and yellow gold settings surpasses the original value of opalites.
Lab created opals, on the other hand, can go for less than $150 for a larger size sterling ring. The resale value of lab created opals is equally low. Remember, natural opals and their lab created counterparts have the same chemical composition.
When comparing opal to opalite, you’ll notice that natural opals come in different prices. Opals are usually valued based on their play of color as opposed to color tint and clarity. Some natural stone varieties are more expensive than others. The cost of natural stones ranges from $50 to $5,000 per carat.
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When it narrows down to the value of opalite and opal, none of them is best suited for engagement rings. They’re almost the same in terms of durability.
Opalite is resin or manmade glass that is more susceptible to scratch. Glass has a rating of 5 on Mohs hardness scale which makes it vulnerable to dust and dirt in the air especially when worn daily. Similarly, opal gemstones that occur naturally are rated at 4.5 to 5.
Opals and opalites are naturally beautiful but they’re not ideal for everyday wear owing to their vulnerability and breakability. However, they work remarkably well as center stones with proper maintenance and care.
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Conclusion – Opalite Vs Opal
At this point, you should know the main differences between opalite and opal stones. Both of these gemstones are a sight to behold but have distinctive differences.
You can find opals both online and locally that’s why they’re more popular in the jewelry industry. Opalite, on the other hand, is quite uncommon in most jewelry stores because it’s not an actual gemstone. Both opalite and opal would make a great addition to your collection even though they’re not best suited for bridal jewelry.
Your choice of protective ring settings will go a long way if you prefer opalites or opals to diamonds.
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