Chemical Composition and Formation Process

Opalite, also known as opalized glass or sea opal, is a man-made glass created by fusing silicon dioxide (SiO₂), Dolomite, metal, and possibly some other minerals at high temperatures to achieve its milky, iridescent appearance, mimicking the look of natural opal.

Names and Alternative Names

The name “Opalite” is derived from its resemblance to natural opal. Alternative names include “Opalized Glass” and “Sea Opal,” reflecting its man-made origin and iridescent qualities. Also known as Tiffany’s Stone or the Ice Cream stone.

The name “Tiffany’s Stone” is a nod to the famous American jewelry and luxury goods retailer, Tiffany & Co. In the 1960s, a deposit of Opalite was discovered in the Brush Wellman beryllium mine in Utah, USA. The mine was near the Tiffany Ranch, which was owned by the family of the famous jeweler Louis Comfort Tiffany (founder of Tiffany & Co.). The colorful, iridescent appearance of Opalite reminded people of Tiffany stained glass windows, which often feature vibrant hues.
As a result, the stone became associated with the Tiffany brand, and the name “Tiffany’s Stone” stuck.

Mining, Production and Use

Opalite is primarily produced in China. Opalite is produced in laboratories through the fusion of silica and other minerals. The process involves melting the raw materials at high temperatures and then cooling them to form glass. The resulting material is cut and polished into beads, cabochons, and various decorative items, widely used in jewelry and metaphysical practices.