How to Identify a Real Opal Gemstone at Home

How to Identify a Real Opal Gemstone at Home

Identifying a real opal gemstone at home involves several methods to help you determine its authenticity. Here are some practical techniques:

1. Visual Inspection

  • Play of Color: Genuine opals exhibit a play of color that shifts and changes when viewed from different angles. This should be vibrant and multi-colored.
  • Base Color: Real opals have a natural base color which can range from white, black, blue, gray, or colorless.

2. Surface and Structure

  • Surface Texture: Inspect the surface for a smooth, waxy texture. Imitations often have a plastic-like feel.
  • Internal Structure: Real opals have a complex internal structure, sometimes visible under magnification. Look for tiny, uniform patterns rather than the haphazard appearance of synthetic opals.

3. Transparency and Luster

  • Transparency: Opals can be transparent, translucent, or opaque. Genuine opals usually show a degree of transparency, especially around the edges.
  • Luster: Real opals have a waxy to vitreous (glassy) luster.

4. Temperature Test

  • Cool to Touch: Real opals are cool to the touch initially and warm up slowly when held in your hand.

5. Magnification

  • Natural Inclusions: Use a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe to inspect the stone. Genuine opals may have natural inclusions, tiny cracks, or an irregular internal pattern.

6. Weight and Density

  • Heaviness: Due to their high water content, real opals are relatively heavy for their size. Compare the weight with a similar-sized piece of glass or plastic.

7. Scratch Test

  • Hardness: Real opals have a hardness of 5.5-6.5 on the Mohs scale. Use a copper coin or fingernail (less hard) to gently scratch an inconspicuous part. Genuine opals should not scratch easily.

8. Light Test

  • Translucency: Hold the opal up to a light source and observe the light passing through. Real opals should show a degree of translucency and a distinctive play of color.

9. Water Test

  • Immersion: Place the opal in water. Real opals retain their color and play of color when submerged, whereas some synthetic opals may look less vibrant.

10. Consultation and Certification

  • Expert Opinion: For the most reliable identification, consult a certified gemologist or jeweler who can provide professional evaluation.
  • Certification: Always ask for a gemstone certificate from a recognized authority when purchasing an opal to verify its authenticity and quality.


By performing these tests, you can gain confidence in the authenticity of your opal gemstone. However, for the most accurate results, seek professional evaluation and certification. This ensures that you have a genuine and high-quality gemstone.

Even better you can buy the stone from a reputable seller. You can buy high quality Opal at affordable prices from Vedic Crystals

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