Peruvian Gemstones

We are miners and gemstone cutters with mining in Peru and factory
for cutting in Lima Peru. We would like to advise all jewelers and
consumers of Peruvian Blue Opal that there are many many fake beads
and cabs and jewelry presently in the market place.The availibility
of Peruvian Blue Opal has drastically in first quality and
especially superior and premium quality has severely dropped. There
is perhaps at this time August 2008 only 20 to 50 gram of premium
materiasl from any one mine in Peru at best. Many fakes worldwide
exist such as dyed mine run whitish opals with matrix… In addtition
agates are being dyed the colors of peruvian blue opal. Lastly there
is dichroic glass with slag in it and also victoria stone and other
synthetics. It is recommended that people buy from Peruvian miners
and cutters such as ourselves directly with some old stocks. and
some current production. There is very very little if any at any
jewelry store presently in Lima Peru of blue opal and if so such
grades tend to be of low quality.

Currently as well chinese dealers are taking huge stocks of
unstabile chryscolla to China where such is opticoned (glue
enhanced) and sold as turquise due to the color or chrysocolla. Due
to copper mining activity in Peru stocks of blue opal, chryscolla,
opaline (gem silica mixture) and gem silica ( quartz colored by
copper minerals-) chrysocolla are in low supply but peruvain miners
and cutters have some stocks and cutting.Prices for top pink opals
have been rising from ICA,

Some new stones in Peru include chinese writing stone, demurturite,
pink banded rhodocrosite, bubble gum pink rhodonite, leopard stone
(an abracia) with excllent patterns. and black-white serpentarium
nodules are newer finds. We carry all in rough and cut, beads
and.925 jewelry.

In addition, we underatnd via Argentine dealers that stocks of ortiz
rhodcrosite are very few in Argentina with mines running out of such
materials. Thus we and others are selling rough strawberry red ortiz
rhdocrosite as well as cabs, beads, facated beads and,925 sterling
and bead pednants as well.

Anyone wishing to learn more about Peruvian blue opal or Peruvian
Gemstones may contact us offline.

Lee Horowitz, M.Ed, CAGS, Gemologist
Peru Blue Opal Ltd
Horowitz Co-KCIG Co Ltd

I developed a crush on blue Peruvian opal a few years ago and spent
quite a bit of time trying to acquire a good bit. I bought from a
variety of sources, from reputable local jewelers to eBay. 90+% of
what I bought was not Peruvian opal. Some appeared to be dyed
chalcedony. I returned the fakes.

It’s time for me to fall in love with a different gemstone!

One of the advantages of cutting your own stones is it’s harder to
fake the material (and less profitable for the faker) Of course you
still get stuff, like turquoise, which is heavily treated, but you
know it as soon as you put it to the wheel.

As it is, I’m carefully hoarding a small cache of blue opal chips.
They’re big enough to cut some nice little cabs.



You bought from the wrong sources as we have been ttelling people
for years in the Blue Opal business. We are one of just a handfull
of peruvian dealers and miners with blue opal although little is
left in the mines in Peru. When you buy off ebay you buy what you
pay for basically and much is fake, or treated, etc or of low
quality. WE cut blue opal and mine it and gem siclica chryscolla and
chryscolla, etc We have been trying to educate people to blue opal
and other Peruvian stones for many years since the facts that in
India and China they have ben dying our mine run. We as miners
ourselves stopped selling such mine run years ago when we found out
as it was ruining thetarde. The mine run was basically white opal
with matrix, very ugly material.

In fact I have been giving lectures on the subject to GIA
associations, bead societys, Gem and Mineral Groups, etc. The
chalcedony you bought was dyed brazlian white agate-chalcedony coming
out of brazil and allover brazil that is dyed in brazil the colors of
blue opal and sold for cutting overseas. Peruvians do not dye or
enhance the blue opal as they do nothave the methods to do so. in
Lima or Peru. Our stocks of superpremium and premium blue opals as
well as superiors are atleast 5 years and older and basically
irreplacable. Any one mine now in Peru produces maybe at beast 20
grams of this top material every 6 to 8 weeks., if at all. The other
problem is that copper miners are now mining copper ore in abundance
thus also limiting blue opal and chryscolla supplys and gem sislcia
since vast tonages of such in the metals markets are more economical
to mine.

Please feel free to contact me if you desire real 100% blue opal in
beads or cabs, etc or dendritic blue opal., gem silcia chryscolla,
chryscolla, ortiz rhodocrosite…pink opal, etc

By the way the difference between dyed chalcedony or agte to blue
opal is great. The difference one can tell by weight -density. As an
example opal is light in weight and a 8mm starnd of peruvian blue
opal round or rondells weighs between 28 to 32 grams, actually 30
grams while chalcedony or agate weighs much more. As to the dye try
acetone as it will take out the dye. These are just a few of the
educational things we tell our consumers and the trade. In addtion
blue opal in beads or a tray of cabs is never ever all exactly the
same color, no opal or stone basically is in natural form. The ahdes
of opal vary in carribean blue opal due to the inensity of coloring
from copper. So each piece tedns to be different in color In beads
we never can match exactly the strand. Also peruviuan strands are
not uniform starnds as cut in China or India. One can tell Peruvian
cutting…Our tarde mark in bleu opal and pink opal, golden and blue
opal in beads as an example is to cut drops and triangles which our
factory only does so.

Please feel free to reach me offline and I can also give you my phone
number to discuss.


Lee Horowitz, M.Ed, CAGS, Gemologist
Peru Blue Opal Ltd
Horowitz Co-KCIG Co Ltd

Does anyone have any guidelines for pricing various grades of
natural andean blue opal? I know it’s gone up quite a bit. I too have
a cache of the material (cabs and rough). I saw an article in Jewelry
Artist Mag (aka lapidary journal) last fall saying that even the
lowest grades could run $5-6/ct retail now, but I’ve never been sure
how to grade the stuff properly.


We are the experts in Peruvian stones and pricing. The artcile in
Jewelry Arts Magazine Fall 2008 on Peruvian Blue Opal has our names
in Lee Horowitz and Marcel Ryzenberg my partner-Peru Blue Opal Ltd.
We d mining and we do cutting in Lima Peru. The artcile was written
by DerrickLevin and also featured rough opal he had cut from our

Please contact me offline and I can gladly give you opal rpices
based on grade. The blue opal prices listed in that edition are very
very high retail prices andnot whoelsale prices Also you should make
sure youropal is in fact blue opal and not dyed opal, cihoric glass
with slag in it, victoria stone, dyed blue agate-chalcedony from
Brazil cut in India or China, etc

Thank you
Lee Horowitz M.Ed, CAGS, Gemologist
Peru Blue Opal Ltd

Without cutting turquise or chrysocolla one can tell if it is
treated, If you put a match to the rough you will smell the glue or
plastic, same with with back of cabs, etc. Also you can tell dye by
putting a little acetone to the back of the cab or bead, etc

First opal weighs alot less then its substitutes ie dyed agate or
chalcedony, and also is a much much softer stone. Try a littel
acetone if a dyed opal. Dichoric glass with slag will weigh more
then opal… Opal has also a unique feel versus chalcedony or agate.

There is very very little premium and superior quality and overall
blue opal left inPeru. It is suggested to buy from Peruvioan
companies. since they do notdye otr terat the product.If one goes to
Lima now you will havea hard time finding any Peruvian Blue Opal
evenin the jewerly stores and what is available will be lower grades
of blue opal. The reasons for this is depletion of existing mines in
the Andes and copper mining since the price of copper in bulk is mor
adventagous to the miners.

In addtion the sizes of Peruvian Blue Opal rough are small. At one
time we could cut up through 25-30 mm beads standrd quality blue
opal but today we are lucky to cut 8 to 10mm beads as an example.

Lee Horowitz M.Ed, CAGS, Gemologist
Peru Blue Opal Ltd
Horowitz Co-KCIG Co Ltd

I bought some Peruvian opal last year from Lee Horowitz for an
article I was writing. But it was extremely hard to get at the time.
Oddly enough, I have recently been cutting some of it that I hadn’t
used before.

Coincidentally, because a customer asked me about it, I also began
cutting some Peruvian chrysocolla/gem silica from rough which I’d
bought at least 10 years ago. I call this chrysocolla/gem silica
because it is quartz and/or agate highly translucent and colored in
the green/blue color ranges. In any case, though I’m sure Lee
Horowitz is right that it’s getting scarce, not all Peruvian opal
and chrysocolla is dyed.

I think what you’re going to find is that if you’re looking for a
stone of a single color and of uniform saturation, there’s an
excellent chance that it’s dyed. And if you find some that isn’t
dyed it’s going to cost you a fair chunk of change.

What’s also interesting is that I have some that looks like
chyrsocolla but is hard and semi-translucent, as well as other
material that is practically transparent quartz or agate but
brightly colored by copper. There’s some great stuff here.

If anyone would like to see some recently cut stones of the
Chyrsocolla/Gem Silica email me and I’ll send you a photo or two.

Derek Levin


There were two articles in Jewelry Artist that ran next to each
other. The cutting/jewelry article was by Derek Levin. The article
which described pricing was by Sharon Elaine Thompson. I was
interviewed for the article as my company Out of Our Mines, sells
thousands of carats of Peruvian pink and blue opal every year. As has
been stated, not much material has been coming out for the last
couple of years. What was referred to in the article in the $5-6 a
carat range is not the “lowest” grade but the lowest “gem” grade,
meaning light, evenly colored blue to greenish blue cabochons
without brown matrix. This grade generally includes some stones with
black dendrites as long as they are attractive. Our very top
translucent deep blue cabochons sell for up to $80 per carat
wholesale but most gem material sells in the $15-40 per carat range.
If the stones have ANY brown in them they are often priced by the
piece or in the range of 25 cents to $2 per carat. I hope this helps.

Richard Shull


Without cutting turquise or chrysocolla one can tell if it is
treated, If you put a match to the rough you will smell the glue
or plastic, same with with back of cabs, etc. Also you can tell dye
by putting a little acetone to the back of the cab or bead, etc 

Not to argue with your expertise or credentials but there are
processes now that defy normal techniques of identifying
stabilization. I have been working with a couple of guys in Texas
that have a proprietary process they call fortification. They claim
to “finish what Mother Nature started”. Their process adds no plastic
and doesn’t fill gaps in the stone nor does it accumulate on the
surface of the rough stone like a resin would. It doesn’t change the
color of the stone either. From what I can see it silicates the
stone. I sent some chalk turquoise down for them to process and in 3
months it came back nice and hard. The nuggets sound like glass
rubbing against each other. It cuts and polishes beautifully. No
plastic or other unusual smells while cutting. I would be glad to
send you a piece and see if you can detect it.

I’m not in the business to fool anyone. I will sell it as fortified
or stabilized stone.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Thank you for the on peruvian opal.

I’ve seen the dyed peruvian opal… it’s a very nice clear blue. It
was so much nicer and cheaper than the rougher real peruvian opal
I’d seen, that it set off a lot of alarm bells. Nice to hear that I
wasn’t just being paranoid!

I’m happy to sell dyed materials… I have all kinds of dyed
chalcedony in all different colours. But I sell it as exactly that,
dyed chalcedony. I love the extra colour combinations it allows me
to play with.

Problem with this dyed peruvian opal is I really don’t know what the
heck it is… dyed chalcedony? dyed peruvian opal? glass? If I can’t
honestly tell customers what it is, then I don’t want it. Other
problem is, how well the dye holds. I don’t want to purchase it,
then find that the dye comes off. At least the dyed chalcedony is
(so far!) very predictable in how well the dye holds.

Vancouver, BC


Several years ago during the JCK show in Las Vegas, I went to
several dealers whom I suspected to be selling dyed opal. Some
disclosed that it was dyed and others did not. I purchased some
samples of beads and cabochons for my own examination. I did not get
a chance to look at the stones again for several months but when I
did, I found that the stones had released a blue liquid that was
pooled in the bottom of the ziplock bag that they were in. So, in my
opinion the dyed “Peruvian” opal on the market is not to be trusted
to maintain its color, not to mention the damage it could do to a
customers clothing.

Richard Shull