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What is the difference between precious opal and opal doublet/triplet?

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There are many grades of opal available in the trade today. Quality of opal will range from common white opal to black opal. There are dramatic price differences between common opal and black or crystal opal. For this reason some opal manufacturers will assemble a stone to appear as if it’s a black opal when in fact it is a common white opal. There are numerous creative ways that people have done this. Most common is an opal doublet, this is when you take a very small sliver of common opal and glue it onto a black plastic or black chalcedony backing. The color of the opal then appears dark and the play of color more pronounced. Another way to enhance the appearance of common opal is to assemble an opal triplet. An opal triplet is made in the same way an opal doublet is assembled except then a colorless piece of rock crystal quartz is glued to the top of the opal giving the opal more stability. There is nothing wrong with purchasing an assembled opal, as long as you know what it is ... more
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