Introduction to opals

Start your journey to becoming an opal expert in this free online course.

This course is also available in French – Click here

Introduction to opals

  • What are Opals?
  • Famous Opals
  • Explore the World’s Most Expensive Opals
  • How Hard is an Opal?
  • How to Cut an Opal?

Opals: origins & formation

  • Opals in Different Cultures
  • How do Opals Form in Nature?
  • How are Opals Found?
  • Can you Tell how Old an Opal is?
  • When Were Opals First Discovered?
  • In Which Countries are Opals Found Today?

The science of opal testing

  • How to Tell if it’s an Opal or Glass
  • How to Tell if it’s a Natural Opal or Not
  • How to Tell if an Opal is Treated or Not
  • How to Determine the Geographic Origin of an Opal
  • Traceability of Opals
  • What Instruments are Used to Test Opals?

About the courses

  • Self-paced course: access the information you want, when you want it.
  • Test your knowledge about opals with a quiz at the end of this course. Please note these are short introductory courses, they are not trade qualifications nor do they give you the possibility of adding letters/credentials after your name.

About your instructor 

SSEF (Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF) is a non-profit Swiss foundation whose aim it is to further the science of gemstone testing and gemmological training. We are one of the leading gem labs in the world and have scientifically tested many of the world’s most prestigious gemstones.

For more information about opal testing services — click here to visit our website.

Frequently asked questions

Who is this courses for?

  • Access trustworthy information from one of the world’s leading authorities on opals.
  • Curious about diamonds and gemstones? Start learning more with this free course.
  • Are you in the gemstone or jewellery trade and you want to gain expert insights on topics such as quality factors of opals, how opals are treated and where opals come from? Then this course is for you.

When does the course start and finish?

The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you and when you finish.

How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

What this course is NOT:

  • How to buy an opal
  • How to sell an opal
  • How to certify an opal
  • How to value an opal
  • Learning to design opal jewellery
  • Knowing what opals to invest in
  • How to tell if an opal is real
  • Learning to identify a synthetic opal using a loupe