So many terminologies which add to the confusion of what opal is.
Here at Opals Down Under, we like to not only sell our products (which is the main objective, of course), but to also educate people on opal and the various forms which you see. The main reason being that most jewellers or normal retailers will not explain that triplets shouldn’t get wet often, or that Black Opal is the more valuable stone, or that you just spent AU$700 on a synthetic opal (we don’t touch that stuff).
Let me break it down to you as easily, and as simple as possible –
Buy a stone that ‘speaks’ to you. Sure, coloured stones are seen as a great investment at the moment (opals, particularly Black Opal will keep their value), but ultimately you should be buying the stone, or jewellery, because you (or the person you are buying it for) like it.
You can’t beat the different types of Solid Australian Opal when it comes down to having a gemstone that’s ‘rare’. Everyone has different tastes. I do notice a lot of the older generations love the White or Milky Opal, partly because it has that pearlescent appearance, but mostly because that is what they know of as opal. Younger generations are more into the bolder colours that you get in Boulder or Black Opal, and with modern fashion trends, the Boulder Opal with its freefrom shapes lends itself to more contemporary designs. And of course, telling people you own a Black Opal has that certain ‘prestige’ to it.
With colours, I do notice greens and blues are more popular. It could have something do with the fact that they are less expensive than the fiery reds and and oranges, but more likely because they are, simply, more popular colours. Personally, I prefer a mixture of reds, oranges, greens and blues, in interesting patterns.
Of course, not everyone has the budget to purchase bright, colourful solid opals, so the other options of Triplets and Doublets are there.
Each has their pros and cons – they’re both made to look like Black Opal, without the high price attached. They both cannot be immersed in water frequently (this leads to separation of the layers due to the glue disintergrating, and gradual cloudiness of the stone), and most people don’t know and can’t tell the difference between Triplets/Doublets and Solid Black Opals (but you will, as long as you have been informed). Doublets look more ‘real’ due to the natural opal being exposed on top, as opposed to the cabochoned synthetic resin capping that protects the wafer thin sliver of opal in Triplets.
If you love opal, but have champagne tastes on a beer budget, then there is nothing wrong with Triplets or Doublets. If I had to chose, I’d probably pick the Doublets, just because they do look more natural than Triplets, even though Triplets are more protected.
As for synthetic opals…well, we don’t like to talk about them here much.