Table of Contents
Elimination of smoke
Utilizing sugar and/or acid to treat something
Many Ethiopian opals can be purchased in their raw state. Some are dyed, smoked, or given sugar/acid treatment. These treatments make opals more affordable. Natural opals, however, are much more expensive. The cost of the treatment process will determine whether the treated opals are more expensive or less expensive than natural ones. The dye treatment is the first, followed by the smoke and sugar/acid treatments. All of these treatments produce stunning results. Many times, you will end up buying treated opals.
Dye TreatmentTranslucent Opals, such as those from Ethiopia, can be dyed easily because of the millions upon millions of holes in them that absorb liquids. Because of its pores, the opal will absorb all of the dye it receives while dying. Opal-knowledgeable people can tell if an unusual color has been used on an opal. While it is easy for some to recognize a neon-blue color as not being natural, others are more difficult to fool. Although it is easy to see that an opal has been slightly altered by dye, this practice can sometimes be difficult to detect. The dye treatment can often be seen by microscopy or by cutting the opal to find the concentration of color. For large orders of cut or finished opal, some buyers require samples to verify the authenticity of the raw material. These samples can be used to test and compare the jewelry and stones they have purchased. If the opal’s color is not obvious, it can be sold at a higher price and marketability. Buyers who want natural-colored, untreated opal should ensure that they have tested the color for dye. There are many colors available for dye-treated opals, including green, blue and red. Many people love these opals and will buy at least one necklace. Fine smoke particles may enter an opal’s pores and alter its natural color. To smoke the opal, wrap it in paper and heat the paper until it is burning. The paper that has been burned releases small particles of black smoke, which enters the pores and darkens the color. This darker color makes the opal appear more powerful and obvious because it contrasts with its play-of-color. Sometimes, smoke treatment is detected by looking at black soot particles under microscopic inspection. These can be seen in small amounts or along cracks in an opal. Raman microscopy is a laboratory test that can detect smoke treatment. It detects carbon, which is not normally present in opals with volcanic origin. If they find carbon, they can tell that the opal was treated with smoke. Many prefer black-colored opals but they are not able to resist the opportunity to own one.
Sugar/Acid treatment: First soak the opal in warm water to dissolve the sugar, and then dip it into concentrated sulfuric. The acid causes the sugar to melt in the pore spaces, resulting in dark-colored carbon particles. This darkens the opal’s color, either by making it grayer, darker, or more brown. These can also be seen by microscopy or laboratory tests for carbon. They are just as beautiful as any natural or treated opal. These opals are beautiful and can be used in any kind of jewelry. These opals can be used as jewelry or decorations once they have been properly treated.
Prices for Opal Values. The prices for treated opal are variable and can vary depending on which seller you’re buying from. These treated opals can cost as high as $4,200.00 and as low as $7.00, depending on the treatment received and the cost of treatment. These factors will all affect the cost of your opals. Although you can negotiate on price, some are still very expensive. The untreated natural opals cost more than the treated ones, but many people will pay for the beauty of natural opals. Prices for untreated opals range from $975.00 to $48500.00. Because these opals look beautiful, there are many prices.