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Opal and Opalite: Differences and Similarities

a close up of a opal and opalite

Both opal and opalite are exceptionally lovely in their own right. They are so alike in sound and have some common features, but they could be opposite.

What makes opal different from opalite? How would you distinguish between them?

Opals are produced by nature in different varieties known as common opals (no color play) and precious opals (play of color). At first, Opalite was a synonym for Common Opal, though at present Opalite is more likely to refer to glass Opal Simulants.

The distinction between Opal vs. opalite, Some confusion can surround opalite. To understand how to distinguish these stones, we will discuss the specifics of each of these stones and the differences and similarities between Opal and Opalite.

Opals: What Are They?

a group of white shiny opal stones


Opal is famous for its distinct and amazing spectral hues and plays of color. These are rare, valuable, and attractive mineraloids. They look like crystals but lack a definite crystal structure. Not all Opals have the iridescent qualities. Other forms, which are commonly known as Common Opals, have also been referred to as Natural Opalites. These are plays of colorless Opals.

Indeed, it is quite interesting to know that Opals may contain up to 10% of water. This stone has a refreshing, relaxing, cleaning, and cooling energy. It is closely associated with the element of Water.. The Opal’s magical and crystal healing aspects are linked closely to the balancing and rejuvenating energy body. This crystal’s rainbow hue energy is beneficial to all chakras.

Opals are available in several colors including white opals, blue opals, brown opals, green opals, pink opals, purple opals, red opals, yellow opals, and black opals. Their luster is vitreous, greasy, and waxy. Their element is water and are transparent. Their Mohs hardness is 5.5 to 6.5.

Opalites: What are they?

a pile of blue and white opalite stones


The name Opalite is primarily given to glass Opal Simulants. Artificial stones that mimic natural opal but don’t have the same chemical makeup as the real thing are called opal simulates. However, the term Opalite does have some confusion related to it because sometimes people define natural common opals as opalite, which do not contain play of colors. These are Natural Opalites.

Since 1980 people have described a type of sparkling glass that is usually transparent as Opalite. They are usually milky-white or transparent showing a glowing effect known as Adularescence. People associate Opalite with the metaphysical effects of peace and tranquility.

Not only the beauty of this man-made stone’s creation is a symbol of new positive beginnings but also it generates positive and mood-elevating effects. This is due to the natural energetics of glass which present concepts of transparency vision, power, weakness, and sophistication.

Opalite Man Made is a glass-based simulant and does not compare to synthetic or lab-created Opals which are manmade but identical in chemical composition and metaphysical qualities as a natural Opal.

The common colors of opalites include White, Orange, Pink, Blue, Purple, and green. They are generally transparent and have Mohs hardness of 5 to 6.5.

Distinctions Between Opalite and Opal

a collage of opalite and opal stones


When talking about the differences between opal and opalite, we shall refer to natural, valuable, and common opals as opal and glass simulant opal as opalite.

Source

The source, which we refer to as the site and process of formation, is where Opal and Opalite diverge from one another. Opal is at significant depth in the Earth’s crust; both in volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Opalite is the result of artificially manufactured artificially with a process that has been standardized by humans.

Make-Up

When Silica-rich water saturates the ground and leaves clusters of tiny silica spheres along with a small percentage of water. This is the natural Opal formation process consisting of hydrated silica. Opalite forms from materials that have an imbalanced composition than that of a natural Opal. These are mostly glass which contains silica as part of its component, it may also include metal, resin, or plastic.

Visual Deception

The optical effects on Opal and Opalite are most often variant. Natural Opals show a different pattern that is an optical effect due to the process of formation which leaves connected spherical silica deposits and are trapped in water. Additionally, glass opalite exhibits an iridescent quality, typically a blue adularescence. You can also synthesize artificial Opalite with metal, resin, and plastic inclusions to imitate the play-of-color effect.

Uncommonness

However, Opals and Opalite differ in scarcity so Opalite is more abundant than simulant Opals. Real Opal can also take many years to grow and form in small deposits which means that it takes miners or prospectors to find them. It is easy to manufacture opalite to meet any type of demand since it comes from a human-devised process and a glass material abounds in the market.

Age

The natural Opals and glass Opalite vary in age greatly. You can manufacture Opalite in a few days from the glass. It takes many years to develop Natural Opals; however, recent research indicates that if specific microbial activity were present these can also develop within a few weeks to months.

Resistance to Heat

Glass Opalite will be slightly more heat-resistant than natural opals, which are more heat-sensitive. However, as plastic and resin are also heat-sensitive materials, this is not the case with Opalite items that contain these materials.

Value and Cost

Since natural opals, especially those categorized as precious opals, exhibit the recognizable opal play of color effect, opal, and opallite are very different in price. They are valuable and costly.

The most common natural opal variants range in price from $10 to $150 per carat, while the most costly variety, called black opal, can bring between $50 and $10,000 per carat. Opalite glass is much less expensive. It is offered by tumbled stone, which sells for $1 to $3 each stone, rather than by carat.

Color Variations Found in Nature

Many types of natural opal exhibit a color play. The colors of opal originate naturally on Earth. Opalite colors are mostly translucent or milky, with a peachy pink glow against a lighter background and a blue glow against a darker background. Additionally, depending on the illumination, it can display reflections of various colors.

Opal and Opalite Relative Similarities

a collage of opal and opalite stone


There exist several parallels between natural Opal and artificial Opalite, notwithstanding their differences as stones. We can learn more about these stones and their similarities.

Hardness

Opal and opalite are frequently the same hardness and exhibit many similarities. On the MOH hardness scale, both are in the center. Typically, opal ranges from 5.5 to 6.5, while glass opal ranges from 5 to 6.5.

Luster

Luster is the visible outcome of light’s interaction with a mineral’s surface roughness. Opal and opalite often have similar lusters because they are both primarily vitreous and occasionally pearly. Natural opal usually has a vitreous or glassy sheen. Occasionally, they may also appear dull, shiny, waxy, resinous, or oily. Artificial Opalite is always bright and shiny.

Transparency

The transparency or clarity of opal and opalite can be comparable. The clarity of naturally occurring opals can vary, with stones appearing translucent, transparent, or opaque. The most prevalent types of glass optlite are transparent or translucent.

Correlated Chakras

Opal and Opalite are similar in that several of the same chakras connect them. All of the chakras are connected to opals with color play. The Chakras of the Throat, Heart, Third Eye, and Crown are primarily associated with opal. Opal and Opalite share healing powers and benefits since they share these chakras. Both gems can enhance spiritual and emotional development as well as communication.

Benefits from a Metaphysical Perspective

In addition to having many characteristics in common, opal and opalite both have certain distinctive metaphysical qualities. Generally calm, jovial, lighthearted, and optimistic, these stones have an energy that is helpful during periods of rebirth.

Birthstone

The official October birthstone is opal, and opalite is designed to resemble real opal, which is one similarity between these stones. People therefore call it an October birthstone.

(FAQs) about Opalite vs Opal

Q1. Is opal the same as opalite?

Both in the affirmative and negative. Opalite is a term used to describe a variety grouping of Common Opals, or genuine Opals. Since they are composed of opalescent glass, which differs from actual opals in both production and chemical makeup, they are typically not genuine.

Q2. Who should not wear opalite?

Zodiac signs of Sagittarius, Leo, Libra, Scorpio, or Cancer should not wear natural opal since these signs are incongruent with Venus and can have negative repercussions.

Q3. What does natural opalite look like?

People use the term “common opal” to distinguish natural opalite from glass opalite. When opal glass is placed against a dark background, it appears blue. When positioned against a light background, its milky white color takes on an orange or pink hue.

Q4. Is opalite a real crystal?

The opalite gemstone is a synthetic crystal made mostly of glass and resin, occasionally metal, that mimics the appearance of real opal. Like the semi-precious gemstone opal, there is also a naturally occurring opalite variant composed of silica and water.

Q5. Does opalite glow in the dark?

Opalite is a Man-made opalescent glass. Opalite glows a bright pink or blue when positioned against a black background.

Stay Tuned to Gems Tycoon for all gems-related articles.

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