Most people have asked various questions when it comes to opals and one of the most common ones is the difference between Opal doublets and triplets. It is of great importance that you familiarize yourself with these opals. Basically, opal doublets ad triplets are created using natural Opal and a man made material. These stones are referred to by most people as doublet and triplet opals. They are simply slices of opals that are glued to “black backing” which has been designed to imitate or copy the appearance of a solid opal. Sticking slices of opal to black backings makes the color look darker and also more vibrant. You will find it interesting to know that doublet and triplet opals are cheaper than the other solid opal simply because they only contain a little amount of genuine opal.
Opal Doublet vs. Triplet Opal; Main Differences
Opal Doublets are made of two layers that are glued together with glue. These two layers are;
- They can be glued to a black backing which is basically made up of either black potch, black industrial glass, hard plastic, or brown ironstone and vitrolite.
- They can also be glued to a thin slice of opal which is often times white or crystal opal. Although the thickness of a doublet opal can vary based on certain factors that cannot be controlled, it still happens to be way thicker than that found in a triplet opals.
To identify doublet opals, you have to look at the side of the opal. If in the event that the stone (doublet) has been glued together, you will see that the meeting point between the black backing and the colored opal is straight. This is of great importance if the two layers should be glued together. You will find it surprising to know that if a doublet is covered and set into a piece of jewelry, it would be extremely challenging even for an expert with a considerable amount of experience to tell if it is a solid or a doublet opal. The top of the doublet stone is made of pure opal and most times it could appear or look like a black opal.
One of the most fascinating things about this stone is that it happens to have a more natural appearance than the triplet opal. When it comes to doublet opal, it is important that you remember they are made from opals that were usually too thin to create a solid stone. As mentioned earlier, doublet opal is one fine way to lay your hands on a precious and colorful opal without necessarily spending much money on it. They are mostly cheaper than the other more genuine opals.
Some of the main uses of this opal include but are definitely not limited to these; opal earrings, rings, and pendants. This is because they are quite easy to match colors closely. Unknown to most people, it is quite rare to lay your hands on matching opals, this is one of the main reasons why doublets have gained more fame in the industry as they are used to produce more matching sets. When used for pieces of jewelry, opal doublets tend to have bessel sets. Bessel sets are basically where the metal is rounded up and is used to cover the opal. Covering up opal has two main effects;
- It helps to hide or protect the meeting point or joint between the backing and the natural opal
- It gives those who see it the illusion of a large solid opal.
Triplet opals, unlike doublets, are made up of three main layers;
- the black backing,
- A slice of opal that is placed in the middle
- and a clear plastic or glass capping shaped like a dome. Unlike the doublet opal, the slice of opal found in the triplet is extremely thin, so the work of the clear capping would be to give the stone an amazing cabochon at the top. Also, this clear cut could be used to magnify the color of the opal at the same time working to protect the opal.
While it may be difficult for even experts with a reasonable number of years spent in the industry to identify a doublet opal when they see it, the case is different for the triplet opal. Triplet opals have a clear capping at the top, this makes it a whole lot easier for almost anyone to identify triplets immediately they see one. They mostly have this glassy appearance with the light reflecting from the top of the stone.
To enable you identify where each of the layers of a triplet opal meets, you have to look at the side and the back of the stone. Also, it is quite important that you remember that backing could be made of black potch. Surprisingly, triplets are cheaper than doublets, and this is because they contain a smaller amount of real opal. Aside from the fact that triplets are cheap, they also happen to be more resistant to impact than doublet and solid opals. This is simply because the top of the stone is often times made up of synthetic materials.
Opal Doublets vs. Triplet Opals; How They Are Cared For
Since these two opals are glued to different layers (doublet has two main layers while triplet has three layers), exposing them to water for a long period of time would result in lifting between the various layers. This does not entirely mean that if you are caught in the rain maybe once or twice or wear it to shower a couple of times that it will be ruined. If there has been infiltration of water, the doublet and triplet opal would take a grey or foggy appearance.
To clean your doublet and triplet opal, it is advised that you make use of a damp cloth and mild detergent. It is great importance that you do not immerse or soak into water. Also, do well to avoid making use of chemicals and other harmful cleaning liquids.