Many jewelry lovers are fast going for lab-grown opals. There seems to be a distinct feature about the gem that holds them spellbound. What are lab-grown opals and how are they made? What is the difference between natural and lab-created opals? It would be the best if you kept reading this article to find out.
What are Lab-Grown Opals?
Lab-grown opals are sometimes referred to as synthetic opals. They are manufactured opals with the same chemical composition and internal structure as the natural opals. These synthetic opals’ physical properties and appearance are identical to the mined counterparts.
However, it is essential to note that synthetic opals are not the same as imitation opals. Unlike synthetic opals, imitation opals are simply a look-alike of natural opals. Imitation opals do not strive to achieve the chemical composition and structure of the natural opal. Instead, they are only similar in physical appearance to the natural opal.
How Are Lab-Grown Opals Made?
Lab-grown opals are made by replicating the conditions under which nature produces the natural opal. However, in this case, the opal is created in a laboratory under close monitoring by human beings. As such, the manufacturer can alter the conditions to give the opal superior quality to the natural opal.
There are several methods through which lab-grown opal can be created and the most preferred one is Gilson process created by French scientist Pierre Gilson Sr. in 1974, which takes about 14 to 18 months for the opals to grow. The opals produced by the Gilson method perfectly mimic natural opals’ chemical and physical properties. The Gibson process is regarded as the chemical process closest to how natural opals are made.
Are the Lab Grown Opals More Durable than Natural Opals?
The answer is yes. Lab-grown opals like the ones by BIRON® that are made by the Gilson process are stronger than natural opals.
The reason for this is not far-fetched. Lab-grown opals created via the Gilson process contain all the components of natural opal except water. As a result of the absence of water in the opal, these lab-grown opals have a reduced tendency to break. Hence making them stronger than the natural opals.
Advantages of Choosing Lab-Grown Opals
It is easy to stick to the idea that once it is not natural, it is not real. However, a thorough examination of the characteristics of the lab-grown opal will change your mind. It might be necessary to state that laboratory procedures allow scientists to improve on nature’s flaws. As a result, they often come out with better and improved versions of the gems we often see in nature.
They are Flawless
Extra unneeded elements often interfere with the process when opals are made in nature so scientists usually discover inclusions and unwanted features in the opals. On the other hand, lab-made opals are created in monitored, well-controlled environments. Therefore, this process would produce a flawless and aesthetically appealing opal.
Lab Grown Opals are More Durable
The laboratory process allows scientists to improve on the opals found in nature. One of the improvements in the lab-grown opal is its strength. Lab-grown opals are stronger than opals that are derived from nature.
This means that when you purchase a lab-grown opal, you are assured of its longevity because of its strength. Additionally, the strength of the lab-grown opal would not allow it get chipped easily.
They are More Pocket Friendly
Like other lab-grown gems, lab opal’s price is more affordable than natural opal. This gives you a chance to save some money for yourself without losing the pleasure of owning an opal. Because most people wouldn’t know the difference unless you tell them, this is certainly a fair deal.
Lab-grown gems are often underappreciated because we do not take the time to research them. When we do, we would realize that owning them has several advantages. Often, these lab-grown gems are more durable and stronger than the naturally occurring ones. When next you are out to get an opal, you should definitely get a lab-grown one.
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