Gemstone Profiles: Cultured Opal

Calvin Begay Opal Dragonfly Pendant


Navajo artist Calvin Begay designed earrings on a drop post with stunning lab created opal

Calvin Begay Opal Link Bracelet






There’s a new opal in town, and it’s finding favor with several of the top notch Native American jewelers such as well known Navajo artist Calvin Begay. Handcrafted in America, this synthetic gem combines the beauty, play of color and distinct patterns of genuine opal. These shimmering cultured opals are made of the same material as in nature, tiny particles of silica, but they’re created in a lab in a fraction of the time it takes for natural opal to form. No dye has been used to enhance the color as in some other synthetic opal. The refraction and color comes from the Bragg diffraction of light – the same cause of color in natural opal. This cultured material is harder than its natural counterpart and not as vulnerable to temperature, cracking or drying. For that reason, it’s a perfect choice for inlaid jewelry. It is shimmery, sparkly and much easier to wear without the fragility of natural opal.

Navajo artist Calvin Begay Dragonfly Pendant in new spiderweb lab opal brilliant color

Opal is the birthstone for people born in the month of October, as well as the traditional gift for the 18th Wedding Anniversary. Shop our cultured opal jewelry selection – as a special gift, it’s sure to be a hit!

by oldtownjewels