There are two kinds of opalite found on earth-- a gemstone, which forms naturally, and a synthetic glass, which is entirely man-made. We will be focusing on the manufactured type, which has risen in popularity as new technology in stone making has improved. 


Opalite was first created to be a dupe for natural opal, which is favored for its extremely fiery appearance. The stone can be considered a failure in that sense, because its iridescence does not have the same impact as fire in opal. However, its appearance is more similar to moonstone, as it has a copper-colored shifting iridescence when viewed over light-colored surfaces. Over dark colored surfaces, opalite takes on a light blue color. Some opalite is completely translucent, while others can be fairly milky. 


The process of making opalite is similar to the making of glass in general, which is created by melting minerals like silica, limestone and soda ash. Iridescent glass has been a subject of study and invention since the middle of the 1800’s-- when the sheen could be achieved with arsenic. Today, these stones are not created with harmful materials, and the glass is incredibly safe for wear. 


Because the minerals are formed to make a specific shape, there is no room for crystallization to occur. Iridescent glass , like opalite, is made by adding metallic pigments into the mixture of molten material. The glass is then allowed to cool, on which the metallic pigments would be fully mixed into the glass and allowed to spread evenly throughout. 


We recommend these beads to anyone who loves iridescence in their designs. When paired with moonstone, sunstone, or labradorite, your designs will undoubtedly catch the light and dazzle your customers. Opalite can also work well with synthetic coated beads, like rainbow-colored hematite or druzy agate.