How Lab Created Opal is Made
How Lab Created Opal is Made
Synthetic opal, also known as lab-created or man-made opal, is created through a controlled process that replicates the natural formation of opal. Our Lab created opal is known for its vivid colors and patterns.
While synthetic opal may have a similar appearance to natural opal, it's important to note that there are differences in terms of composition, structure, and value. Synthetic opals can offer an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to natural opals.
Also do not forget to consider that not all synthetic opal is created equally and may have different purposes. For example, our lab opal products are stabilized with polymer making it perfect for ring making and jewelry creations because it is less prone to cracking and crazing unlike natural opal. Polymer is a great stabilizer for this reasoning but it cannot be used in projects that require high levels of heat such as glassblowing.
- Silica Solution
The primary component of opal is silica (silicon dioxide). A silica solution is prepared by dissolving silica in water, typically with the addition of a stabilizing agent. The solution should have a similar composition to that of natural opal, which contains a high percentage of water.
- Gel Formation
The silica solution is poured into a container and allowed to form a gel. This process may be sped up by adding a catalyst or adjusting the pH of the solution.
To create the vibrant colors and patterns seen in Lab Opal, color pigments or metal salts can be added to the silica solution before gel formation. The addition of these pigments or salts results in the diffraction and interference of light, creating the characteristic play of color found in opal.
- Aging and Polymerization
The gel is then allowed to age and polymerize. This is a crucial step that determines the final appearance and quality of the synthetic opal. During this stage, the silica molecules in the gel slowly bond together, forming a solid structure. This process can take anywhere from several months or up to a year, depending on the desired properties of the final product.
- Drying and Hardening
Once the gel has aged sufficiently and the desired level of polymerization has been reached, the synthetic opal is dried slowly to remove any remaining water. This process should be carefully controlled, as rapid drying may cause the opal to crack or lose its structural integrity.
- Cutting and Polishing
The fully dried synthetic opal can now be cut and polished into various shapes and sizes, just like natural opal. The cutting and polishing process can reveal the unique colors and patterns within the opal, making each piece visually stunning. Resulting in a lab created opal slab with endless possibilities.
- Final Form
Now the gemstone-like material can be cut, crushed, and drilled into many different forms. Lab created opal has been popularized in jewelry, ring making, woodworking, resin art, nail art, and so much more!
Lab Created Opal Supplies
See all the amazing options of lab created opal that could be a part of your next project!
Crushed Lab Created Opal is an inlay material that is commonly used in ring making and jewelry. This materials is the most diverse because it truly can be used for just about any type of craft project.
Black Fire Crushed Opal is undeniable a fan favorite!
Lab Created Opal Beads are often featured in jewelry and wire wrapping projects. They offer color play that is so vibrant it will surely have you wanting more!
Pearl White Opal Beads have gained popularity because of their unique rainbow sparkle!
Lab Opal Stones have many forms but the shine of a faceted stone is like no other. The diamond cut shape makes these stones sit perfectly in a earring, ring or necklace setting.
Pacific Sapphire Faceted Stones have a vibrant blue and green hue that bring the beauty of the ocean to all craft lovers!
Looking for a flat back stone that could fit within your inlay? Look no further! Lab Created Opal Cabochons are great for jewelry and even woodworking. These stones offer vibrant color play and are great for beginner makers.
Black Fire Opal Cabochons are a true beauty with a lot of unique uses!
We Want More Options!
We hear you and that is why here at The Opal Dealer, we work hard to consistently offer new products for our customers. What do you want to see next? Let us know...