Liz Hall and Randee Ketzel are leading a resurgence of polymer artists taking another run at making a believable opal. Their techniques are coming mighty close to fooling the eye and driving the rest of us crazy figuring out how they do it.

Liz (left) is partial to boulder and Yowah Opals. She says, “I make the initial shape with iridescent mediums embedded into many different layers and types of polymers to get these results. I finish these faux opals by coating them with resin then sanding and buffing them on the wheel.”

Randee prefers hers embedded in fossilized limestone with traces of primeval seas. They’re both obsessed with simulating opal perfectly in polymer.

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  • reply Jan Montarsi ,

    I love the way Randee combines her natural looking elements along with metalics and sometimes ancient looking elements !! Be sure to look at her recent Egyptian revival Scarab necklace on Flickr Its gorgeous !!

    Liz your Opal is so convincing, it makes me want to give it another try !!!!

    • reply rossane ,

      so creative…make me wanna get out my clay and play 🙂

      • reply Randee M Ketzel ,

        So sweet of you to mention these experiments of mine–I have to say that Liz was my primary inspiration for working on these–her version is unbelieveably realistic; unlike anything that has preceded her–except the real thing, of course! I adore polymer clay’s penchant for recreating natural materials so convincingly.

        • reply Scott ,

          VERY impressive!

          • reply Liz Hall ,

            I missed my normal morning check in to PCD and was thrilled to get an email telling me that one of my pieces is featured. I really enjoy making the faux opals, when I just want to have fun it’s time to make the fauopals! Randee’s pieces are wonderful and I love the tidepool fossilized look they have to them.

            Besides the iridescent mediums – which is a mix of liquid polymers, glitters, film and mica powders. For the iron stone part of the opal I use polymer transfer adhesive liquid, fimo clear decorative jell, metallic clays non-metallic clay and white transparent clay. Most all of the non liquid clays are scraps from my faux burl wood pieces I make, it works perfect to get that iron stone look that opals are formed in and it’s a great way to use up all my left overs.

            Thanks again for the wonderful feature!

            • reply Sera ,

              These pieces are truly indistinguishable from real opal. Faux opal has always been one of those ‘almost-there’ fauxs – up until now!
              Great work Liz and Randee.

              • reply Anna Winter ,

                So impressive! The faux opal is a technique that I have been interested in attempting for about a year and Liz and Randee’s pieces have created encouragement for me. Thank you so much for featuring their work. I so appreciate Liz sharing her list supply. Ladies, keep up the beautiful work.

                • reply Jursvi ,

                  ..very creative!!!

                  • reply Susan O'Neill ,

                    Wonderful recognition for these artists, especially Randee whose lovely acquaintance I was able to make, in person, at the IPCA Retreat in Chicago 🙂 Her work is even more amazing in-person, too!

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