Australia and the passion for opals. Part 1

Image: © serge simo / Fotolia

Australia’s greatest attraction is the beauty of its nature. The landscape varies from endless sunburned areas to dense tropical rain forests. Scattered along the coast, the Australian cities combine the European enthusiasm and love for art, sophisticated cuisine, and passion for sports and outdoor life. Australia, besides being the homeland of the kangaroo and the saltwater crocodile, is also known for its sparkling in various colors opals.


If there is a place on Earth that resembles a moonscape quite successfully – this is precisely the city Coober Pedy in South Australia. In this remote and isolated from the world place is mined the famous worldwide Australian opal. The air there is dusty, dry and hot, and people live in holes, in the very hills where the opal is extracted. Houses, shops and even hotels are deeply buried in the ground and rocks. This is the only salvation from the hell temperatures reaching 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you go by plane during the day over this area it is very likely not to notice any signs of life.


Ironically, the very opal that is harvested in this desert has been formed thanks to the water. In ancient times, infinite rains poured on the sandy surface, and the currents that formed crystallized and formed the opals. Miners are looking for chutes and cracks in the rocks, where rainwater may have accumulated, and opal to have formed. Usually the opal is easily noticeable because of the glow it radiates in all the colors of the rainbow.


There are two kinds of opal in Australia. Monolithic and one that has rock impurities.


Interestingly, the first found and advertised opal around the world is from Queensland, the year is 1880.


In 1901 in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales was discovered black opal, which became news in the world of gemology. It has indescribable beauty, shining in bright red, acidic blue and sparkling green. At first it was perceived as too colorful and even as an imitation. Luckily, this did not last long, and in 1910 the Lightning Ridge opals were recognized as the most exquisite in the world.


In 1915 and 1930 miners discovered deposits of white opal in Coober Pedy, South Australia and Andamooka, 270 miles to the southeast. The white opal with good quality demonstrated a constant presence of several colors with medium intensity. Although it is beautiful, the colors of the white opal can not stand out much on a bright background to the same extent in which contrast those of the black opal.


The combination of the two colors is located in Mintabie, where the base color of the opal is gray. Since the black opal is the rarest, its prices are the highest. For the last 30 years, its main market is Japan, where collectors and investors agree to pay huge sums to acquire the precious stone.


Share This Post

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

© 2020 Jewellery Passion. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS · Comments RSS