With the little bug's eyes looking at the opals up close, the surfaces of the gemstones were revealed to be not very smooth. The surfaces had some very, very small holes, which made them look like the surface of the ground after the soil had been struck by raindrops during a rainstorm.
Looking further inside, black dust spots could be seen. The biggest selling point of an opal was the gorgeous change in colors. However, the insides of the gemstones were lifeless and not gorgeous at all, as if the patterns were inlaid.
It took a type of intuition. Looking at the gemstones after having seen a lot of natural fire opals made it easy for Li Du to realize the difference between the two.
In addition, the inside and outside of a natural opal was consistent and had homogenous colors linked by a natural color transition layer. When looking slowly along the opal, the change in colors was not noticeable.
It was the effect of the color transition layer that perfectly blended the colors, which were different in intensity, together.
On the other hand, the color transition layer in the gemstones was ineffective. The gemstones surfaces would look beautiful with their orange-red or bright red color, but the color began to quickly fade away further into the gemstones.
The further into the gemstones, the worse the situation got. Some of the gemstones did not even have a color transition layer, resulting in the red and off-white colors being very distinct from each other!
Li Du only needed to think for a bit after seeing the gemstones to figure out what they were.
Owen had just explained the nature of fake opals earlier that morning. The gemstones were fake opals.
Christopher was right: he was a rookie. If it weren't for the reassurance provided by the little bug's vision, he would not be able to ascertain the authenticity of the gemstones.
Truth be told, looking from the outside, the gemstones had been forged very realistically. Even if the gemstones were in the hands of an expert, without the use of professional tools to examine the gemstones, they would most likely not be able to tell if the gemstones were real or fake.
With the little bug, Li Du was roughly able to identify the gemstones as Gilson stones, after having a detailed look inside.
Gilson stone was a type of synthetic opal that had been successfully synthesized in a laboratory during the 1970s by a French scientist named "Gilson." It displayed a very similar color gradation found in natural opal.
However, as Li Du had seen earlier, the color gradation of a natural opal was more vibrant, whereas the color gradation of a synthetic opal was more often than not very stagnant, resulting in a huge distinction between the two.
Such a distinction was quite subjective and completely relied on a person's observation skills and experience. Yet, in the European and American gemstone markets, subjective experience could not be used in place of an official verification certificate.
As such, the accrediting body had found a reliable identification method, which was to enlarge the image of the opal using an instrument. It allowed the lines on the top side of Gilson synthetic opals, which looked like snake and lizard skin lines, to be observable.
Li Du had seen the thin and ineffective color transition layer within the gemstones, which caused a tenuous connection between the different colors and hence, formed the lines found in Gilson stones.
Although he'd determined the identity of the gemstones, he was not very confident of it as the gemstones had more intense and beautiful colors than Gilson stones.
After contemplating, he decided to spend the energy and use the little bug's Reverse the Past to see exactly what was going on.
Once the ability was activated, scene by scene began to appear.
As expected by him, the gemstones were fake and made by someone in a laboratory; this confirmed that they were Gilson stones.
After their initial creation, someone else had heated up the Gilson stones and soaked them in some wine-red solution before taking them out to air dry. The person then continued to further process the Gilson stones before ultimately producing the fake gemstones.
Li Du came to a sudden realization that those people had put in a lot of effort into the forgery as they did not simply use the Gilson stones and instead, used them as a raw material for a further round of forgery.
Together with the knowledge passed down from Owen, he could very easily identify the name of the second round of forgery, which was called "counterfeit dyeing."
Counterfeit dyeing was usually used to make black opal, which was more valuable. By using a lot of sugar solution, inferior white opals could be dyed black, resulting in intensely-colored black opals that were then sold.
There were many types of opal: black opal, fire opal, white opal, boulder opal, crystal opal, and so on, with white opal being the lowest priced opal.
As the white opal, in its original state, usually has a white body, milder color gradation, and more pores, it was easily dyed. Therefore, it had become the raw material for the forging of opals.
Just like what Li Du had seen when he reversed time, white opal was first heated up, followed by being soaked in sugar solution, orange, or grape juice with high sugar content.
After it had dried, it was soaked in concentrated sulfuric acid to carbonize the sugar until it turned black.
Christopher and his company were rather shrewd to be able to draw upon the process of forging black opals and come up with a way to forge fire opals. The gemstones created from the double forgery were much more realistic than those made from only one level of forgery. Even experts might not be able to tell them apart from real opals.
Unfortunately for Christopher and his company, as they had incurred his wrath and dragged him into the fraud, Li Du would definitely not sit by and watch while they committed misdeeds.
As many gem hunters felt that Christopher was speaking the truth, they believed him.
Christopher's words were 40 percent true and 60 percent false. The parts regarding Li Du were true, while everything else regarding Christopher and his company was false.
Because of this, after renting the piece of land and realizing it was a scam, the gem hunters would definitely find trouble with Li Du, thinking that he had collaborated with Christopher to scam them.
This was definitely what would happenmany Americans were that unreasonable.
Also, Li Du could not stand this kind of deception. He felt that although tricks could be used, they must be grounded in truth, just like how he obtained the National Geographic magazines.
These people were straight up setting a scam to deceive others, and he hated swindlers the most.
Christopher was much more ruthless than he had anticipated.
Although they had rented a two-hectares area, they did not simply auction off the area as a whole. Instead, they came up with an even better method.
Christopher announced, "We are going to divide this piece of land, which is two hectares in area, into 12 pieces with each piece having one-tenth of a hectare. Whoever is interested can buy a piece for 20,000 dollars. Anyone who is willing to can come find me!"
The gem hunters suddenly burst into an uproar. Some of them said in a resentful manner, "Hey lads, you guys are too greedy."
Christopher calmly replied, "If you don't wish to take a risk, then don't think about making money. We could have earned much more if someone hadn't spread the news of us finding the gemstone pit!"
Among the crowd, a gem hunter raised his hand. "Give me a piece. Twenty thousand dollars for a very reliable chancewhy not? Guys, the money can be earned back by just finding a single gemstone."
Another person also said, "I have already asked Owen's staff. The Chinaman did indeed sell a lot of opals to Owen this morning. If you guys don't believe it, you can ask him yourself!"
"I also asked. He has earned a lot of money from Owen."
Christopher looked fiercely at Li Du and said in an angry tone, "Was it you who spread the news of this gemstone pit? You b*stard, you only want yourself to earn money?"
Li Du sneered. This guy sure knows how to act. Even at this moment, he still doesn't forget to develop the plot? He must think that he lucked out, believing that because I'm Chinese I'm easy to bully.
The calm man brought some men and began dividing the two-hectare land. They intended to divide the land into 12 pieces, before selling the pieces one by one.
Just like that, they only needed to put in one to two thousand dollars and be able to gain 20,000 dollars. The profit margin was astonishingly high!