What is Opalite (Sea Opal Glass)?

by Rena Klingenberg.

What is opalite, also known as “sea opal glass”? Is it a gemstone, or is it manmade?

Sterling silver and opalite / sea opal glass earrings by Rena Klingenberg

Opalite Glass

“Opalite” usually refers to a manmade glass used mainly in jewelry making.

Although this material is usually anywhere from clear to milky colored, it takes on an unearthly, luminous blue glow – especially when placed against a dark backdrop.

That’s why it’s sometimes mistaken for moonstone.

However, against a white backdrop or held up to the light, opalite / sea opal glass often takes on an amber color.

But it’s the lovely, glowing blue that really attracts people.

Wear opalite jewelry against any dark colored clothing, and start counting the number of people who come up to you and ask, “What is that stone?”

There’s no doubt that it catches people’s eyes, and I’ve always found that any sea opal glass jewelry in my display sells very quickly!

Sea opal necklace display shows the luminous blue of this material against a black background

Is Opalite a Gemstone?

Although most of the jewelry components bearing this name are the glass variety, there is also a true gemstone called “opalite”.

This stone is composed of dolomite plus quartz and fluorite, and is usually a purple, lavender, or mauve color. It sort of looks like a cross between lepidolite and charoite.

You may see this gemstone also called “opal fluorite” or “tiffany stone”.

And Just to Confuse Things…

Here’s yet another way the word “opalite” is sometimes used in the gemstone world: it can also refer to an impure, common form of colored opal.

The Main Thing to Remember:

Most of the time, in the handcrafted jewelry world, the word “opalite” refers to the luminous blue, manmade “sea opal glass”.

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