What Is Lab Created Opal?

Opal, with its mesmerizing play-of-color and unique patterns, has captivated jewelry enthusiasts for centuries. In recent years, lab-created opal has emerged as an alternative to natural opal, offering a more accessible and consistent option. Let's explore what lab-created opal is and how it compares to its natural counterpart.

The Genesis of Lab-Created Opal

Synthetic Creation Process

  • Laboratory Birth: Lab-created opal is synthesized in a controlled environment, replicating the natural conditions under which opal forms over millions of years.
  • Composition: Composed of silica and water, lab-created opal shares the same chemical makeup as natural opal, resulting in similar optical properties.

Advantages Over Natural Opal

  • Uniformity- The controlled creation process results in a consistency in color and pattern, making lab-created opal ideal for matching sets or pieces.
  • Enhanced Durability- Lab-created opal is generally more resistant to cracking and chipping compared to natural opal, which is sensitive due to its higher water content.
  • Cost-Effectiveness- Synthetic opal provides an affordable alternative to high-quality natural opal, making opal jewelry accessible to a wider audience.

Lab-Created Opal vs. Natural Opal

Visual and Authentic Distinctions

  • Unique Charm: Natural opal is prized for its one-of-a-kind patterns and play-of-color, with no two stones being exactly alike.
  • Perceived Value: While lab-created opal can replicate the look of natural opal, the latter is often more valued for its rarity, especially in the case of scarce varieties like black opal.

Considerations for Buyers

  • Aesthetic Preferences: The choice between lab-created and natural opal depends on individual taste—some may prefer the natural stone's uniqueness, while others might opt for the vibrant and consistent appearance of synthetic opal.
  • Budget Constraints: For those seeking the opal aesthetic without the higher price tag, lab-created opal presents an attractive option.

The Role of Lab-Created Opal in Jewelry

Lab-created opal has carved a niche for itself in the world of jewelry, offering designers and wearers alike a plethora of options in terms of design and color. Its unique properties and vibrant hues make it a favored choice for various jewelry pieces.

1. Design Versatility

  • Adaptability: The consistent quality and enhanced durability of lab-created opal make it suitable for a wide range of jewelry designs. From sleek, modern settings to more intricate, vintage-inspired pieces, this gemstone can be adapted to suit any style.
  • Innovation in Design: The uniformity of lab-created opal allows jewelry designers to experiment with innovative designs without the limitations often posed by the natural variations in genuine opal. This opens up new avenues for artistic expression in jewelry making.

2. Color Range

  • Vibrant Hues: One of the most appealing aspects of lab-created opal is its availability in a wide array of colors. Unlike natural opal, which can be limited by its natural color formations, synthetic opal can be produced in virtually any color, from deep blues and greens to soft pinks and fiery oranges.
  • Color Consistency: In addition to the variety of colors, lab-created opal also offers consistency in color. This is particularly advantageous when creating matching sets of jewelry, such as earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, ensuring that each piece in the set complements the others perfectly.

3. Applications in Jewelry

  • Rings: Lab-created opal rings are popular for their striking appearance and durability. They can be set as solitaires for a simple, elegant look or combined with other gemstones for a more elaborate design.
  • Pendants and Necklaces: The versatility of lab-created opal makes it an excellent choice for pendants and necklaces. Whether showcased as a single, vibrant centerpiece or integrated into a more complex design, it adds a touch of luminosity and color.
  • Earrings: From studs to dangle earrings, lab-created opal can be fashioned into various styles, catering to different tastes and occasions. Its lightweight nature makes it comfortable to wear, even in larger designs.
  • Bracelets and Bangles: Lab-created opal can be used in bracelets and bangles, either as the main attraction or as accent stones alongside other materials. Its durability ensures that it can withstand the wear and tear often associated with wristwear.

Care and Maintenance of Lab-Created Opal Jewelry

Preserving Beauty

  • Gentle Cleaning: Clean lab-created opal jewelry with mild soap and water, avoiding harsh chemicals and ultrasonic cleaners.
  • Proper Storage: Store opal jewelry separately in a soft pouch or lined box to prevent scratches and maintain its luster.


Lab-created opal stands as a testament to human ingenuity, offering a beautiful and durable alternative to natural opal. Its consistency, affordability, and versatility make it a popular choice for those looking to add a touch of opalescent magic to their jewelry collection. Whether you're drawn to the allure of lab-created opal or the natural wonder of genuine opal, both varieties offer their own unique charm and beauty.

At Greis Jewelers, we are proud to offer a selection of exquisite lab-created opal jewelry, crafted with the same dedication to quality and craftsmanship that defines our brand. Whether you choose lab-created or natural opal, these stunning gemstones are sure to add a touch of elegance and color to any jewelry collection.