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Copper Electroforming Using Opals — Maker Monologues

Copper Electroforming Using Opals — Maker Monologues


Let’s talk about two types of opals:

  • Hydrophane Opals

  • Non-Hydrophane Opals

In this article I’m going to cover only opals from Australia and Ethiopia because those are the two main sources of opal, and they’re what I see you all asking about the most.

Hydrophane means water-loving. Hydrophane opals are very porous and will soak up any type of liquid they come in contact with. This can cause the opals to temporarily lose their color when they come in contact with water, but when it fully dries the color will come back.

Ethiopian Opal

Ethiopian (Welo) opals are mostly hydrophane and more porous than Australian opal. If your Ethiopian opal gets wet it will almost always turn a translucent color and lose it’s color play. But they will usually get that color play back after having been dried out for anywhere between a few hours to a few weeks.

The amount of water and porosity of Ethiopian opals vary, so some opals may not be affected as intensely as others by being submerged in water. This chemical composition of Ethiopian opals make them difficult and tricky to use when making electroformed jewelry.


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