Since the 1880s, Australia’s extraordinary and beautiful gemstone, the opal, has been mined in the outback. Today, Australia is the world’s leading producer of opal.
Nature has captured all the colours of the spectrum, displaying them in an infinite variety of shades, patterns and brilliance and locked them into this remarkable stone. Opals lie dormant in the earth until a miner clips the edge. As light reaches the gem, it exposes the most beautiful dancing display of colour. No other gemstone can display such wonderful personality and each stone exudes its own character, allowing the wearer to own a truly unique piece of nature.
There are four main types of natural solid opal from Australia:
On rare occasions opalised fossils have been found. At The National Opal Collection locations in Sydney and Melbourne you can discover the incredible link between the opal and the dinosaur. The National Opal Collection is well worth a visit; here you can take a free tour of the museum, watch a presentation in the auditorium, see opal cutting demonstrations or purchase your very own opal or opal jewellery tax free.
As with a piece of art, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’; the same holds true with regards to purchasing an opal. The stone’s rarity, size, shape, colours, patterns and, most importantly, brilliance will be the important factors in determining the value of the stone.
Images courtesy of National Opal Collection