Cultured Opals...What are they please?


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Registered Shopper
Aug 4, 2009
southfields london
Have just had a couple of days in Brighton and whilst looking in the jewellery shops in the Lanes I noticed a label on some opals saying 'cultured'! Knowing little more than nowt I wondered if any one could please explain what these are as I thought all opals were natural and I bought the managers special on Mintabie Jelly Opals the other night and wonder now what I have done!?:thinking2:
Can't say i have ever heard of a cultured opal! was it the bracelet you bought? that was lovely you have no worries there!
Cultured is sometimes used as a synonym for 'lab-grown' gemstones. Here's more info that I found on the web.

Synthetic opal
As well as occurring naturally, opals of all varieties have been synthesized experimentally and commercially. The discovery of the ordered sphere structure of precious opal led to its synthesis by Pierre Gilson in 1974.[5] The resulting material is distinguishable from natural opal by its regularity; under magnification, the patches of color are seen to be arranged in a "lizard skin" or "chicken wire" pattern. Synthetics are further distinguished from naturals by the former's lack of fluorescence under UV light. Synthetics are also generally lower in density and are often highly porous.

Two notable producers of synthetic opal are the companies Kyocera and Inamori of Japan. Most so-called synthetics, however, are more correctly termed "imitation opal", as they contain substances not found in natural opal (e.g., plastic stabilizers).

GemsTV don't sell synthetic opals, so you have no need to worry briolette. Hope you love it when you get it home.
Thanks for your replies! Gemcherub, yes it was the bracelet from Gems tv with the orange and white sapphires. My first opals so had a little panic when I realised there were synthetic ones too.
Oops-a-daisy, thanks for the great information, I can understand what I saw now. They really did look fantastic but then they were under the shop lights at a distance. I'm relieved to hear that all Gems tv opals are real. I am looking forward to the bracelet very much!
But be aware that have sold mossanite in the past...although its always been flagged as mossanite...created diamonds
But be aware that have sold mossanite in the past...although its always been flagged as mossanite...created diamonds

I must jump to Gems defence here, they've never described moissanite as "created diamonds", only ever "created moiisanite", going to great pains to explain about real moissanite and how the "created" version is produced in a lab. It is also very clearly entitled "Created Moissanite" along with the name of the manufacturer on all its packaging. Where you may be getting confused they do refer a lot to its having greater fire and brilliance than diamond. xxx
Hi Briolette - I can't speak for the bracelet as a whole, but I've had a few opals from Mintabe and they are beautiful and full of colour flashes. If they are anything like mine you'll be delighted with them. xxxxx
Happy dance

thanks! i'm glad you liked yours..I can't wait to see them IRL.
Am doing a proper happy dance right now though because a gorgeous citrine, yellow beryl ring has just come. Its like the warmest apricot with lots of sparkle and the beryl, although tiny, just sets it all off..can't remember when something made me feel this happy.

Opal bracelet 6408518 £498 of sheer debt!!!!:heartbroke:

citrine ring uvv 8486 £34 of sheer happiness:heart:
oops gemcherub i think i gave you the order no instead in my hurry. Unfortunately i haven't got it written down..but the bracelet is coming tomorrow so if its on the invoice i'll put it up. thanks for trying anyway!

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