The different types of Opals

If you are new to purchasing opals you might be wondering about the different types of opals sold at Opal Essence.  Here some quick descriptions, for tips on caring for your opals and any other questions please head over to our help section.


DoubletA doublet consists of a layer of high grade opal which is then cemented to a black backing. This partially man-made stone is a cost effective alternative to buying a whole stone.

The black backing enhances the colours in the opal, making them resemble fine quality black opal. Most doublets have a nice cabochon top and you get the glorious colours of black opal at only a fraction of the cost.


TripletTriplets are made from a thin layer of high grade opal cemented to either a black or dark backing.

A clear dome cap of either glass or quartz is then cemented to the face of the opal. The cap magnifies the intensity of the opal’s colour and pattern. The cap also protects the opal.

Triplets are great value buying as the intense colours and patterns greatly resemble black opal but at a fraction of the cost.

Andamooka Matrix

This is what they call the mother of opal. It is said to be mined prematurely, before the opal has had enough time to fully develop. Over the years we have learnt how to treat it in a sugar and acid solution. This does not add any colour to the stone, it only darkens the background from white to black.

As Andamooka Matrix is a porous stone it is also slightly textured. The end result once polished isn’t always perfectly smooth and can have some natural stone markings.

The finished product is incredible, it looks like a black opal!

Andamooka Rainbow Matrix won’t take a polish but lends itself to a lovely finish with a sealant (ie Liquid Glass) to bring out all the beautiful colours.