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Naturaly formed sandstone opal matrix is Precious Opal flecks dispersed throughout an earthy orange ferruginous sandstone. Why is sandstone opal matrix treated? By enhancing the background matrix will give a greater contrast thus the visability of the precious opal colors is greater and stabilizing the sandstone also strengthens the stone by up to x10. Once enhanced some stones have the appearance of top gem quality black opal particularly ones with interesting and unique patterns. They are also similar in appearance to Honduran (basalt) matrix and gem Andamooka (concrete) matrix, even nicer. So, if you would like a piece of opal that looks like a million for a fraction of the cost try these - you will be pleasantly amazed!!! How is sandstone opal matrix treated? The treatment is done by cooking the stone in sugar, thus the sugar is carbonized giving the stone a darker or black background and it is stabilized with inert chemical that strengthens the opal by up to x10. Only the sandstone absorbs the treatmeant, not the precious opal. This type of treatment when applied correctly is absorbed all the way through the entire stone, so re-cutting is not a problem, you do not have to treat it again after cutting. The opal matrix listed here is superior quality to most we have seen to date. It is a more compacted sandstone type and the flecks of precious opal are more concentrated. It takes a polish/ finish much better than the very porous types.