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Ethiopian opals, many of them are sold in their full natural state. Others are treated , for example, dye, smoke and sugar/acid treatments. All of these treatments make the opal less expensive, and when the opal is natural it is far more expensive than the treated ones. The treated opals can cost less or more than the natural opals this depends on the cost on the process this opal went through. The first treatment I will talk about is the dye treatment, then the smoke treatment, and finally the sugar/acid treatment. All these treatments end in beautiful results, and often it is hard to resist and you end up buying these treated opals.
Translucent opals, like those found in Ethiopia, are easy to dye because the millions of tiny holes it, that naturally absorb liquids. When dying the opal is like it is sucking all the color up , because of the pores inside of it. People who know opals, can identify a dyed opal on-sight when an abnormal color is used. For example a neon blue color is easy to tell that the color is not natural, but others are easily fooled. However, the practice of slightly improving an opal’s natural color, with dye can be much less obvious. In these cases, dye treatments can often be detected with microscopic examination or by cutting into the opal to see if the color is concentrated near the surface. Some large buyers of cut opal or finished jewelry require the seller’s to provide samples of the opal rough when making large purchases. The samples are used for testing and comparing to make sure that the finished stones and jewelry, they are purchasing have not been treated in any way. Color enhancements can increase the marketability and price of the opal if it is not obvious that it has not been treated. For this reason, if a buyer wants natural-color opal, testing to confirm that the color is not caused by dye is important. The colors of the dye treated opals are many like the colors, green, blue, red, white, and many others. These opals are beautiful and many do not resist, so they at least buy1 necklace or any other piece of jewelry.
Smoke is a suspension of very fine particles in air or gas. Fine smoke particles can enter the pore spaces of an opal and change its natural color. The smoke treatment can be done by wrapping the opal in paper and heating the paper to a temperature that produces burning . The burning paper releases fine particles of black soot; a black substance, that enters the pores of the opal and darken its color. The darker color contrasts with the opal’s play-of-color, making it appear stronger and more obvious. Smoke treatment can sometimes be detected by looking for black soot particles during microscopic examination. These can often be seen individually, or in concentrations along cracks within the opal. Laboratory tests, such as Raman microscopy, have the ability to detect smoke treatment because they can detect carbon, which is normally absent in opals of volcanic origin. Therefore if they detect carbon they know that the opal has been treated by smoke and is not in its natural state. Although many prefer natural colored opals they do not reject the fact that the black colored opal which is smoke treated is very pleasantly magnificent they can not resist at least owning one.
The sugar/acid treatment is done by soaking opal for a few days in a warm solution of sugar water, then submerging the opal in concentrated sulfuric acid. The acid melts the sugar in the pore spaces of the opal, producing dark-colored carbon particles and stains. This imparts or darkens a gray, black, or brown color in the opal. Like smoke treatment, these can be detected by microscopic examination or by laboratory tests for carbon, and is as equally as beautiful as any other natural or treated opal. These opals contain many beautiful colors and look beautiful on any type of jewelry. After these opals are treated they may vary on uses, like simple decorations, or jewelry as stated earlier.
Treated opal values vary, they have big and small prices depending on the seller you are buying from. Theses treated opal values can be as much as $4,200.00 or more, and at least as $7.00 or less, these prices change depending on what treatment was received, and how much the treatment cost. The cost al depends on these things although you can bargain on the price, many are still expensive. However the natural, untreated opals are more expensive than the treated ones and many people are willing to pay the price because natural opals are even more beautiful than the treated opals. The untreated opal prices vary from the least at $975.00, and the most at $48500.00. These opals have many prices and their prices people say are worth paying, because the opals are beautiful.
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