Opal Doublets & Triplets

If you have been mesmerised & pulled in by the lure of Opal and just cant resist owning a piece for yourself then it is worth familiarising yourself with what Opal Doublets & Triplets are. If you already are aware what Opal Doublets & Opal Triplets are then keep reading to find out the best way to care & clean them.

What are Opal Doublets & Triplets? 

What are Opal Doublets & Triplets?

Opal Doublets & Triplets are slices of lower valued Opals modified to imitate how a Black Opal looks. Black Opal is called such because of its dark body tone which causes its colour to increase dramatically in vibrancy. To clone this effect a slice of Opal has a black backing adhered to it causing the Doublet or Triplet to have a dark vibrancy to it. 




What is the Value of Opal Doublets & Triplets?

Not only does the Opal used in Doublets & Triplets tend to be of a lower quality in general, they also only have a small amount of actual Opal used. This means that Doublets & Triplets are valued a lot less than genuine Opals. This is reflected in the prices that they are sold at.

It's important to be aware of what they look like because sometimes they are sold as actual Opals while they would be worth a lot less. You will also find that Triplets are normally cheaper than doublets because the Opal slice will be thinner, however because the top of the stone can be made from synthetic material, triplets are more resistant to scratches.

How do I Identify Opal Doublets?

Opal Doublets consist of two layers adhered together normally with glue. The two layers consist of:

1. First they get a thin slice of Opal normally of the crystal or white opal variety. The slice will have the edges rounded off to give it a dome like appearance, called a cabochon.

2. The second layer is a black backing that is added to the back of the Opal. This is made of one of the following substances, either black potch (colourless opal), black industrial glass, hard plastic, brown ironstone or sometimes vitrolite.

To identify if an Opal is an Opal Doublet then the best way is to turn it on its side and look closely for a straight line that indicates where the Opal and backing are connected. The line will be perfectly straight as otherwise the glue wont hold correctly.

The thing to be careful of is when you buy an Opal that is already set into a piece of jewellery. If this is the case you can’t tell if the if its a doublet, so you would have to trust the jeweller you are buying from.

How do I Identify Opal Triplets?

An Opal Triplet consists of the same two layers as an Opal Doublet except it also consists of a top layer that creates a cobochon effect and a protective barrier. So the layers are: 1. A thin slice of Opal which can be even thinner then the slice for a Doublet to make up for the extra layer. 2. A black backing the same as an Opal Doublet. 3. The third layer is a clear dome shaped that gives the stone a nice cabochon shape while creating a barrier that protects the Opal. Its normally made out of a hard plastic, glass or sometimes quartz. The clear protective layer on top of the Opal Triplet allows them to be quite easily identified. The stone will appear glassy from the top down view while light will reflect differently off the top then a genuine Opal. Additionally looking at the side of an Opal Triplet you will be able to see where the three seperate layers are joined.

How Do I Care for my Opal Doublets or Triplets?

The key thing to be careful about with Opal Doublet & Triplets is that with prolonged water exposure the water can cause lifting between the different layers. This doesn’t mean that you need to be overly concerned with getting a little bit of water on your Opal you just don’t want to be soaking it in water and also avoiding other situations that would cause a prolonged exposure to water. You will know if water penetration has occured because either there will be an appearence of condensation inside the stone or it might appear foggy. Due to the potential issue with prolonged water exposure when cleaning your Opal Doublet or Triplet you should avoid soaking or immersing it in water. The best way is too wipe the doublet or triplet with a damp soft cloth and a mild detergent. You should also avoid bleach, chemicals and heavy cleaners.


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