What is Opalite?
Opalite, which you will see used in many necklaces, earrings and rings is a very pretty stone and, just like its namesake Opal, has an iridescent appearance where it throws out many different colours.
But what is Opalite? Is it another name for Opal? Is Opalite real?
In this blog, we will answer all your questions and show you some beautiful examples of the Opalite stone.
Is Opalite Real?
Opalite is not a real gemstone but is man-made out of glass that has an opalescent finish. Amongst the opal simulants, this is definitely the prettiest!
Natural Opalite does exist but it is very rare. Natural Opalite has the same chemical composition as Opal, compared to this man made Opalite created from glass.
Sometimes called Sea Opal, or Ice Cream Opal, for the distinctive colouring it has.
The appearance of Opalite is similar to Opal and Moonstone and they have often been compared to each other.
In Opals, many colours of refracted out of the stone and this effect has also been produced with Opalite. This is a very pretty effect that can be quite mesmerising.
With the moonstone gemstone, there is a smooth, cloudy appearance and, this too has been recreated in this man-made Opalite stone.
It is quite a modern stone and is often used in modern, silver items of jewellery.
Opalite and Moonstone
As we’ve already mentioned, the milky-white appearance of Moonstone is similar to the look created in Opalite. Moonstone, particularly Rainbow Moonstone, too, has an iridescence that Opalite has.
Both Opalite and Moonstone are enhanced by being shaped into cabochons. A cabouchon is a rounded, polished stone. This domed effect increases the play of colour in both Moonstone and Opalite. The effect is fabulous in many Opalite necklaces and rings, cut and polished this way.
Blue or White Appearance of Opalite
As we mentioned in our blog on the June Birthstones – of which Moonstone is one – if a piece of Moonstone jewellery has a solid backing then the moonstone will appear blue in colour. If the gemstone is left open at the back, the colour of the gemstone will appear milky-white.
This colouring effect, depending on if the stone is covered at the back or not, works in exactly the same way with Opalite – a solid back will mean the Opalite appears more blue, an open back Opalite will appear white.
The Meaning of Opalite
Opalites meanings and healing energies it is reported to have, we think, should be taken with a large pinch of salt. This is, after all, a man-made gemstone and, in our opinion, any healing properties associated with Opalite will be the placebo effect.
That said, some customers are keen to know about the Opalite healing benefits and the meanings associated with it, so we will list them here and let you decide for yourself if you think there is any merit to the healing properties some sources say it gives.
Opalite is said to be a connector to the spirit world and helps release energy blockages. Supposedly a great balancer of energy, helping to balance the ying-yang energy.
Known as the Merchant Stone, because it helps energise the money aspects of business transactions within a business.
An Eco-Friendly Gemstone?
Of course, there’s a good argument for man-made gemstones like Opalite being more environmentally friendly than those that are mined, with all the complexities of ensuring good working conditions and pay, and not depleting the Earth of its natural resources.
Whilst this isn’t such a huge problem with gemstones as it is with consumables such as palm oil and coffee, etc. Gemstones not consumed in short periods of time like many other natural resources. Indeed, gemstones have a long-lasting (as in centuries-old!) value and are sold and re-sold at increasing prices many times over. This can mean mining activities can be halted and the profits gained from gemstones mined centuries earlier can help sustain and fund environmental projects.
There have been natural gemstones that have been depleted from over-mining. The beautiful Alexandrite (another birthstone for June) was so sought after by Russian nobility that its reserves were soon depleted, thought to be gone forever until deposits were discovered in Sri Lanka and Brazil.
But we have noticed in talking to young people, the generation that seems to be very environmentally-aware, that they like the idea of man-made gemstones. I have been surprised at how jewellers baulk at the idea of lab-grown diamonds, but talk to young people who think they are a great idea and they are outraged that people could turn their nose up at them.