WHAT IS AN INVESTMENT GEM?
There are many questions that gem investors should ask themselves, such as: “Is this gem as rare as I’m being told?”
“Is this gem going to be in demand in the future?”
“Am I buying this gem at the right price?’
“Will I ever be able to recoup my investment?”
These and others are all valid questions that deserve honest answers. But, in these days of advanced synthetics technology we think there is an even more important question to be answered; and that is:
“Is this gem synthesisable?”
If the answer is “Yes”; then it casts doubts on the gem’s true investment potential; because if a gem is synthesisable it is like holding a handful of $100 bills, knowing that only one is real: how do you know which is the real one?? Does not the very existence of the synthetic/counterfeit belittle the value of the real?? (think cultured pearls)
“But”…the counter-argument goes,…”that’s what experts are for; they can tell which is real and which isn’t”.
Well, this counter-argument is only partially right, (at least for the short term) because synthesis technology is advancing so rapidly that it’s only a matter of time before your “Investments” are drowning in a flood of synthetics so “real” that they are indistinguishable from your natural ones: even by the very best experts. (It is a well-established fact that the synthetic diamond industry is doing the natural diamond industry a favour by laser-marking the girdles of all synthetic diamonds…or so they say…and without this marking it is extremely difficult for even the most knowledgeable experts to tell the difference) The doubts created by the advent of synthetics technology makes it critical to be able to distinguish between real gems and the unreal. (Google “The New Diamond Age” and “Synthetic Gem History” to understand just how good most of these synthetics are).
As long-time opal miners and cutters we know how much trouble Mother Nature has gone to over millions of years to form these inimitably beautiful opal gems; and we are grateful beyond words that opal has proven to be the one and only precious gem that is virtually impossible to synthesise.
One of the most conveniently overlooked aspects of investing in gems is that most gems are relatively easy to synthesise; simply because all you have to do is replicate the natural environment that created the original gems, which all have a conventional crystal structure: and in all cases, except for opal; this environment was a combination of heat, pressure, and the right mix of minerals…
HEAT!! MINERALS!! PRESSURE!!!
DIAMONDS!! RUBIES!! SAPPHIRES!! EMERALDS!! ALEXANDRITES!!!
HOW MANY DO YOU WANT?
It is truly that simple
Whereas……Opal Is Very Different To All Other Gems…………..
There is only one gem that is impossible to synthetise………….OPAL!!!
There are so-called “synthetic” opals of various types but none of these opals are actually true synthetics; they are in fact “imitations”: so-called because they do not exactly replicate the chemical composition and structure of natural opals. None of this imitation opal is so “real” that it cannot be detected by an ordinary person using what we call the “3 tens test”: with 10 minutes instruction, and a $10, 10X magnifying glass.
Imitation opal is very easy to distinguish from natural opal; for the following reasons:
- Opals are an amorphous hydrated silica, which was formed without heat or pressure:; in a cool environment. The easiest way to understand the structure of precious opal is to think of it as a cold-formed glass: structured literally sphere by sphere as a micro-spheroidal mineraloid with virtually infinite & unreproducible variability.. This is the key to assessing precious opal as an investment gem.
- It took opal millions, or tens of millions, of years to form in the natural environment; then a few million more to solidify or accretise into a stable gem (read more about Van der Waal’s forces in the “Origins of Precious Opal” Part 2) or click here for a general overview of VDWF.
- Synthesis technology, which speeds up natural processes so that everything is done “Yesterday”, has no answer to cool, random processes with an endlessly-changing flux of minerals that cause the very inimitability —or insynthesisability, if you like— of natural opals. Additionally, imitation opal has obvious tell-tale structures that immediately warn you of its synthetic nature.
So therefore: yes, it is possible to imitate opal, such as Slocum Stone or Gilson does; but Mother Nature’s patient multi-million-year random processes are simply impossible to copy or replicate.
The best opal imitations try to replicate this multi-million-year process with 2 days or 2 weeks’ worth of chemical polymer pressurisation; and the end result is an inferior plasticised gem which is obviously only an imitation.
In short: other precious gems, which all possess a particular crystal structure, are easy to synthesise. Whereas opals, being a “mineraloid” possessing an infinitely random amorphous structure, have so far proven impossible to synthesise. We can’t see this situation ever changing because Mother Nature creates opals as completely random individual creations with virtually infinite variabilities in its structure that defy synthesis.
And every single opal is different to all others because of these natural random processes of amorphism: which makes opal truly unique among gems. A good analogy for opal is to say that they are like Human Beings: we share certain characteristics; but in other ways every one of us is different.
The inimitable “Queen of Gems” has no peers for amazing beauty; no peers for wondrous enchantment; and also no peers for insynthesisability. These singular facts makes opal the “King of Investment Gems” (Copious insincere apologies to all the non-Royalists out there!)
THERE IS ONE WORD THAT SHOULD BE INDELIBLY PRINTED ON THE MIND OF EVERY GEM
INVESTOR; AND THAT WORD IS:
…it means “unable to be copied, imitated, replicated or synthesised”
It is the PERFECT word to describe opal. And: most importantly for investors, it is also the
perfect reason to invest in “The gem of Infinite Beauty”.
Our Unique Offer
We Offer Prudent Investors Inimitable Investments….
… Our endlessly fascinating, wondrously enthralling gems of infinite beauty: Investment Opals.
At opalminers.com our investment grade opals and jewellery are exquisitely beautiful gems of high value that are the rarest & finest gem opals available on this planet; unset, so you can design your own setting; or in settings of our design that enhance the existing natural beauty. Because of opals’ non-synthesisability, we strongly believe that they are currently the most under-valued precious gem in the world.
As the world’s people tune into the indescribable beauty of investment-grade opal, there is a rapidly-growing demand and a faster appreciation in the value of our wondrous “Queen of Gems”.
In the past 3 years alone there has been a near-doubling of the value of Queensland Boulder Opal; and Lightning Ridge gems, along with other quality investment opals, are also seeing rising demand. As a hedge against financial collapse or instability, investment-quality opals are an unbeatable and very beautiful form of concentrated wealth.
In the process of opal-mining, we usually produce less than 1% of gems that can be classed as “Investment Grade” These gems are exceptionally bright; or colourful; or exhibit rare patterns (or, very rarely, possess all three qualities) or are rare in some other way: such as size, fossils, pictures, and pseudomorphs. Every single one of these exquisitely beautiful gems are very different from every other. As an owner of an investment-grade opal, you can honestly say to your friends: “This is the only opal like this in the Universe”. That is a FACT. If you said the same about diamonds, rubies, sapphires etc you could be charged with fraud. Every single investment opal has its own beauty that is different from every other opal. Laurie Hudson was the Postmaster at the Cumborah Opal-fields, and this is one of the verses in his famous poem “Black Opal”; which we think pretty well describes the uniqueness of gem opal:
“Though you’ve roamed the whole world over,
Seen most all there is to see;
There are scenes you never dreamt of,
In this stone of Mystery”
Opal has never had a better description!