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Ethiopia is to ban the export of rough opal as part of an effort to encourage exporters to add value to gemstone and earn increased revenues according to sources at the Ministry of Mines. The ban on opal exports will be the second similar action following the ban of unprocessed tantalum just five months ago. Almost 80% of the rough opal, used in the production of jewelry and ornaments, is primarily exported to India. There are currently 17 associations made up of than 2 thousand miners are currently engaged in the mining of opal in the Amhara Regional States. The artisan miners in these associations sell the gems to an estimated 200 exporters licensed by the ministry. Opal has primarily been exported in its rough form so far with just 5.83 kilograms having being exported after being polished according to Tekle Yilma, President of the Ethiopian Gemstone Association. The polish stones fetched more than 184 thousand US dollars compared to 4.4 million US dollars raised from the rough opal he noted. The MoM has notified exporters to procure opal polishing equipment worth 800 to 3500 US dollars to engage in value addition he noted. Currently just six of the 52 members of the association have cutting and polishing machines according to Tekle. It is to be remembered that Ethiopia has exported more than ten thousand kilograms of gemstones generating 4.6 million US dollars so far this current financial year. This revenue is equivalent to the revenue earned from gold over the same period. Source: Fortune Written by Meron Tekleberhan. UPDATED SEPTEMBER 10 2012: The 2012 rainy season in Ethiopia has severely damaged the rough mountain roads to Delanta and Wegel Tena making deliveries of the rough precious opal from the mountains to exporters in Addis Ababa difficult at best. Qality stones are becoming more difficult to find as the high quality opal deposits along the river gorge appear to play out. Large sizes of this prized opal are also diminishing while prices of larger sized stones have jumped drastically as well as prices of top gem material from this location. Rainy season in Ethiopia has severely damaged the rough mountain roads to Delanta and Wegel Tena making deliveries of the rough precious opal from the mountains to exporters in Addis Ababa difficult at best. Qality stones are becoming more difficult to find as the high quality opal deposits along the river gorge appear to play out. Large sizes of this prized opal are also diminishing while prices of larger sized stones have jumped drastically as well as prices of top gem material from this location. Written by Meron Tekleberhan
The image below is of a map of Australia the photograph shows the location the Opal mining gemstone fields throughout the different states of Australia. Queensland boulder Opal mining fields , towns like Opalton , Quilpie ,boulder Opal gemstone can be produced around the township of Winton , southern Queensland Opal gemstone boulder Opal mining towns of Yowah etc . Lightning Ridge Black Opal gemstone mining field in the state of New South Wales. South Australian crystal and white Opal gemstone mineral deposits in the township of Coober pedy, Mintabie also the Opal mining town of Andamooka. You will see a + Google which is Google's opposition to Facebook social media which is a free accounts where you can click on and recommend the page to your friends that are interested in gemstones and jewellery.
FAMOUS & PRECIOUS OPAL PHOTOGRAPHS @www. grahamblackopal. com/FAMOUS OPALS
WORLD CHAMPION AUSTRALIAN LADYS BASKETBALL HEAD COACH JAN STIRLING A M WAS VERY HAPPY WITH HER BLACK OPAL FROM www. grahamblackopal. com .
The design is the Southern Cross of the Australian flag set with five clear white diamonds and 18 carat gold that surrounds the Black Opal .
Early opal pioneers.
The photographs are of how the old time opal miners used to live when the Europeans first pioneered the Australian Opals feels .
OPAL NOMENCLATURE AND CLASSIFICATION.
Australian Gemstones: Opal.
Opals are Australia's National Gemstone. Australia produces 95% of the world's natural precious opals . This nomenclature encompasses all types and varieties of opals to provide a standardisation of terminology but does not establish any opal valuation methodology.
The Australian Gemstone Industry Council Inc. , in collaboration with the Australian Gem Industry Association Ltd. , the Gemmological Association of Australia Ltd. , the Lightning Ridge black opal & opal Miners Association Ltd. And the Jewellers Association of Australia Ltd. , has produced the following nomenclature for the classification of opals.
Opals are a gemstone consisting of hydrated amorphous silica with the chemical formula SiO2. nH2O. There are two basic forms of opal described by visual appearance.
Precious Opals - are opals which exhibits the phenomenon known as play-of-colour, produced by the diffraction of white light through a micro-structure of orderly arrayed silica spheres to produce changing spectral hues.
Common Opals and Potch - are opals which does not exhibit a play-of-colour. The distinction between common opal and potch is based on formation and structure. Potch is structurally similar to precious opals but has a disorderly arrangement of silica spheres. Common opals shows some degree of micro crystallinity.
TYPES OF NATURAL OPALS .
Natural opals are opals which has not been treated or enhanced in any way other than by cutting and polishing. There are three types of natural opal, with varieties described by the two characteristics of body tone and transparency.
Natural Opals Type 1 - is opal presented in one piece in its natural state apart from cutting or polishing the opals and is of substantially homogenous chemical composition.
Natural Opals Type 2 - are opals presented in one piece where the opal is naturally attached to the host rock in which it was formed and the host rock is of a different chemical composition. This opal is commonly known as boulder opal.
Natural Opal Type 3 - are opals presented in one piece where the opal is intimately diffused as infillings of pores or holes or between grains of the host rock in which it was formed. This opal is commonly known as matrix opals. .
VARIETIES OF NATURAL OPAL .
The variety of natural opal is determined by the two characteristics of body tone and transparency.
Body Tone .
The body tone of an opal is different to the play-of-colour displayed in precious opals. There are three varieties of natural opals based on body tone. Body tone refers to the relative darkness or lightness of the opals when ignoring the play-of-colour.
Black Opals - are the family of opal which shows a play-of-colour within or on a black body tone by reference to the AGIA Body Tone Chart N1, N2, N3 and N4 when viewed face up.
Dark Opals - are the family of opal which shows a play-of-colour within or on a dark body tone by reference to the AGIA Body Tone Chart N5, N6 when viewed face up.
Light Opals - are the family of opal which shows a play-of-colour within or on a light body tone by reference to the AGIA Body Tone chart N7, N8 or N9 when viewed face up. The N9 category is referred to as white opal.
Opals with a distinct coloured body (such as yellow, orange, red or brown) should be classified as black opal, dark opal or light opal by reference to the AGIA Body Tone Chart with a notation stating its colour hue.
Opals shows all forms of diaphaneity and ranges from transparent to opaque. Natural precious opal which is transparent to semi-transparent opal is known as crystal opal. Crystal opal can have either a black, dark or light body colour tone. The term "crystal" in this context refers to appearance not a crystalline structure.
OPAL TREATMENTS .
Opals can be subjected to various types of treatment. Present CIBJO guidelines state that any method of treatment other than standard cutting and polishing must be disclosed and the process used specified on all invoices, advertising and commercial documents. Types of treatments include colour enhancement, heating, painting, dying, resins and waxes, oiling or any application of chemicals. Opals are treated to change its natural appearance, structure or durability. Opals are colour enhanced in opal inlay jewellery where usually a thin solid crystal opal has black paint or glue applied or set above black painted jewellery.
COMPOSITE NATURAL OPALS .
Composite natural opals consists of natural opal laminates, manually cemented or attached to another material. The opal component is natural opal. There are three main forms of composite opals:
Doublet Opals - are a composition of two pieces where a slice of natural opal is cemented to a dark base material.
Triplet Opals - are a composition of three pieces where a thin slice of natural opal is cemented to a dark base material and a transparent top layer, usually of quartz or glass.
Mosaic and Chip Opals - are a composition of small flat or irregularly shaped pieces of natural opal cemented as a mosaic tile on a dark base material or encompassed in a resin.
SYNTHETIC OPALS .
Synthetic Opals are material which has essentially the same chemical composition and physical structure as natural opal but has been made by laboratory or industrial process. Synthetic composites exist as synthetic opal doublets, opal triplets or mosaics opal and must be disclosed as synthetic composites.
IMITATION OPALS .
Imitation Opals is material which imitates the play-of-colour of natural opals, but does not have the same physical and chemical structure or gemmological constants as natural opals.
CLASSIFICATION REPORTS .
Classification reports for the following types of opal should include these details:
Natural Opal .
- Type of opals .
- Variety of opals as Black opals, Dark opals or Light opals with a body classification from N1 (Black) to N9 (White) based on the AGIA Body Tone Chart.
- Transparency as opaque, translucent or transparent. Note if it is crystal opals.
- Weight and dimensions .
Treated Opals .
- 1. Type of opals.
Composite Opal .
- Type of composite as doublet opal, triplet opal, mosaic or chip opal .
- Treatment process, where relevant .
- Dimensions .
Synthetic and Imitation .
Any indication of the origin of opal by the use of geographical location should not be used unless it is qualified as an indication of the type of locality only as recommended by the International Confederation of Jewellery, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls and Stones (CIBJO) such as Lightning Ridge type black opals.
AUSTRALIAN OPAL AND GEM INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION LIMITED.
A. C. N. 001 117 237.
Suite 309, Grand United Building, 149 Castlereagh Street, Sydney 2000, Australia.
Precious opal has been known from ancient times. It is a valuable raw material for use in jewellery. On the world market, the price of the precious opal continuously increases with time. The old European opal mines are now depleted, and the main supplier of the precious opal to world markets is Australia.
How Opal Colour is Produced.
General Opal Information.
RI: 1. 450
Optic Character: Single Refractive.
Specific Gravity: 2. 15.
Hardness: 6 average.
Transparency: Opaque to TP.
Special Identifying Properties and Tests: Play of color, low refractive index, SG, magnification should be diagnostic.
Synthetics: Gilson synthetic is easily identified by its snake skin appearance. I have slides of this material that I will be adding. Glass imitations are easily identified by their coloration and varying RI.
Australian opals are found in irregular nodules or “nobbies” or in steams, the ‘Australian Black ‘Opal gets its name from the background colour which maybe a dark grey known as a semi-black to an intense black background which is the most desirable. Visual colours or ‘face up display’ which is term to indicate colour directly to the viewer, range through blue, green, orange and red. The finest and rarest of gems occurs when ”red on black” combines to show a full array of spectral colours.
The Black Opal - by Victoria Holt
Romance and suspense book.
The Gift Stone - by Robyn Harbert Eversole, Allen Garns (Illustrator)
Spiritual Value of Gem Stones - by Wally Richardson and Lenora Huett
Very sweet book on the mystical properties of gemstone.
Opal Identification and Value - by Paul B Downing
Learn more about how to choose your Opals wisely.
Opals Fred Ward Gem Book Series. - by Fred Ward, Charlotte Ward
Great quick reference on opals
Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart - by Phyllis A. Whitney
An adaptation of an authentic journal kept by an orphaned six-year-old girl
Return to Opal Reach Scarlet Series - by Clarissa Garland
Romance: a story of passion and pain and healing, and two people from different worlds trying to work out their difficult marriage
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones - by George Frederick Kunz
The definitive book on fascinating, traditional gem lore.
Gemstones Eyewitness Handbooks - by Cally Hall, Harry Taylor (Photographer)
A field guide to gemstones. Nice pictures and good, brief, well-written descriptions of over 130 varieties of gemstones
The World of Opals - by Allan W. Eckert
The first comprehensive book on opals in over 30 years, this book covers the history of opals, where opals are found and how the stone is mined.
It also covers cutting, polishing techniques and other methods for working with this "Queen of Gems. "
Opal Cutting Made Easy - by Paul B Downing
Guide to cutting Opals
Gemstone Buying Guide: A Guide to Buying - by Renee Newman
Very nice gemstone identification book.
Gemstones of the World - by Walter Schumann
A very well written source on gemstones with great descriptions and photographs
Hurricane Opal: Live on Video
A whirlwhird of a movie on Hurricane Opal
Opal Darkness Black Lace - by Cleo Cordell
The Prisoner in the Opal - by A. E. W. Mason
For ages people have been believing in the healing power of Opals. It is reported to be able to solve depressions and to help its wearer find the true and real love. Opals are supposed to further enhance the positive characteristics for people born under the zodiac sign of Cancer. Black Opal is recommended to those born under Scorpio, and Boulder Opal is the lucky stone for Aries. The fantastic colour play of Opal reflects changing emotions and moods of people. Fire and water, the sparkling images of Boulder Opals, the vivid light flashes of Black Opals or the soft shine of Milk Opals – striking contrasts characterise the colourful world of this fascinating gemstone. Maybe this is the reason why it depends on our daily mood which Opal we prefer. Opals are like human emotions: you always experience them different and anew.
Care of Opals and Opal Jewellery
Opal jewellery requires no greater care than other jewellery mounted with stones such as diamond, ruby emerald, tanzanite or turquoise.
You should never wear any jewellery in rough conditions such as to the beach or during activities where it may get knocked by metal or hard objects (eg washing up).
In these conditions, stones get dislodged from their settings, gold gets scratched and stones get chipped (even diamonds) and opals should be treated the same as all other stones - with respect.
Opals requires no special treatment or care. As with other stones, grime from wear can be wiped off with a damp tissue or cloth.
Opals are a form of silica, chemically similar to quartz, but containing water within the mineral structure. Precious opal consists of small silica spheres, of uniform size and arranged in a regular pattern. The colour in precious opal is caused by the regular array of silica spheres diffracting white light and breaking it up into the colours of the spectrum. The play of colour in opals depends on the angle of incidence of the light and can change or disappear when the gem is rotated. The size and spacing of the spheres also controls the colour range of opal. In opals showing reds flashes, the spheres are larger than those showing only violet or green flashes. In potch opals and common opals the silica spheres may be absent or too small or irregularly arranged to produce colour.
It took the development of the electron microscope to work this out. Precious opals are made up of tiny uniform spheres of transparent hard silica, which fit together in an orderly three dimensional frame, sitting in a "bath" of silica solution. It is the orderliness of the spheres that separates precious opals from common opals.
Light passes through the transparent spheres in a direct line, but when it hits the 'bath' of silica, it is bent and deflected at different angles, thus producing a rainbow effect.
October birthstones -- OPALS The name opal is derived from the Sanskrit word "upala," as well as the Latin "opalus," meaning "precious stone. " Opals are a gemstone of much variety.
Hydrated silica material , made of submicroscopic silica spheres held together by more silica and water. It is a soft stone, easily altered in appearance by changes in heat and pressure. This mineral contains varying amounts of water within it that determine the appearance of the gemstone. When water evaporates out of an opal, the stone appears slightly smaller and the stress of the evaporation creates cracks on it.
Volcanic rocks , within cavities and cracks. In sedimentary volcanic ash rock, percolating water in the ground dissolves silica that eventually precipitates to form the opal, sometimes becoming the replacement material for fossils -- shells, bones, wood -- whose original material had dissolved away.
Opals play of colors many stones flash the colors of the rainbow when moved, due to the interference of light on small cracks and other internal structural differences. Opals also have characteristic colors due to impurities within the stone. The milky or pearly appearance of some opals are due to inclusions of tiny gas bubbles. Yellows and reds betray the presence of iron oxides. The spectacular black opals that sometimes flash green, blue and red get their color from magnesium oxides and organic carbon within the stone. Perhaps the most valuable opal pattern is the "Opal harlequin," large angular patches of red, yellow and green resembling the checks on a clown's costume.
Australia noted for its magnificent black opal. Fire opal were first mined in Mexico, and continue to be produced today. In the United States, brilliant fire opal is also found in Nevada. Other commercial sources of opal are Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Japan and Ireland.
To ancient Romans Orientals called it the "anchor of hope. " Arabs say it fell from the heavens in flashes of lightning. It was believed to make its wearer invisible, hence the opals was the talisman of thieves and spies.
During the Medieval period, a change in color intensity of an opal was believed to indicated if its wearer was ill or in good health. The opal was supposed to maintain a strong heart, prevent fainting, protect against infection, and cleanse foul-smelling air. The opal stone, as in ancient times, was still regarded as a symbol of hope.
But the opal's reputation changed in the mid-14th century. The Black Death swept across Europe, killing one quarter of its population. The gem was believed to be the cause of death. When worn by someone struck with the deadly plague, it would appear brilliant only until the person died. Then it would change in appearance, losing its luster. In reality, it was the sensitivity of this stone to changes in temperature that altered its appearance, as the heat from a burning fever gave way to the chill of death.
In Elizabethan England, the opals was treasured for its beauty. Shakespeare wrote of it in the Twelfth Night as the "queen of gems. " Queen Victoria presented her children with opal jewelry, thus making the the stone popular.
Opals were probably first mined around 4000 B. C. in Ethiopia, but
their popularity did not grow until the Romans embraced them around 100 B. C. By
then, the majority of opals were mined in Hungary. For over a 1,000 years
Hungary supplied European rulers and churchmen with the treasure of opals.
During that time powers good and bad were attributed to opals.
In 1829, Sir Walter Scott wrote a novel, Anne of Geierstein. The public misread the story and assumed the opal caused misfortune to come upon the heroine. This reinforced the idea of opal being bad luck, and the opal market dropped in the aftermath.
At the same time, Australian opals began appearing in the market, but dealers were hesitant because the Australian opals were much more brilliant and some assumed they were fakes. Queen Victoria fell in love with these gems and her passion helped restore opal as a popular stone. By the turn of the century, Australia had become the world’s primary supplier of opal.
Deflection & Diffraction.
Depending on the size of the spheres, varying colours of the spectrum are diffracted. So it is a combination of deflection (bending) and diffraction (breaking up) of light rays that creates the colour in opal. If you move the stone, light hits the spheres from different angles and bring about a change in colour. The name opal actually means "to see a change in colour. " The way in which colours change within a particular opal stone as it is rotated and tilted is called the opal stone's play of colour.
How colour is defined.
The size of the spheres has a bearing on the colour produced. Smaller spheres bring out the blues, from one end of the spectrum. Larger spheres produce the reds from the other end. The more uniform the spheres are placed, the more intense, brilliant and defined the colour will be.
When buying diamonds, sapphires or rubies, you have either a real one or a synthetic. But with opal you can buy an expensivesolid stone, or you can buy a triplet or a doublet. Doublets and triplets are far more affordable than solid opals, and they are still real opal.
Types of Opal.
Black Opal or Opal with a dark grey body shows the most brilliant play of colours imaginable. Crystal opal, which comes immediately after Black Opal in the hit list, should be more transparent with a deep play of colours. White or milky Opals show more diffuse colours and are the least expensive Opals.
Solid Opals. A solid opal, as the name implies, is a single piece of opal. Solids may be cut into a variety of shapes ranging from circular hemispheres and ovals to free-flowing shapes that follow the natural lines of the stone.
Doublet Opals. Doublets are created by taking a thin sliver of natural crystal opal, then attaching it with jewellers cement to a natural black opal backing. (The backing is called black potch and lacks the play of colour charateristic of opal. )
Triplet Opals. A triplet is also a composite piece. To create a triplet, the jeweler takes a sliver of natural crystal opal, then attaches it with jewellers cement to a backing of black potch. A cap of clear quartz is then placed on top of the opal sliver, creating, if you will, a sandwich effect.
Most solid opals and doublets are cut and polished with a convex dome or curved top. This encourages light into the stone so that the opal's irridescent properties are shown at their best. For triplets, the dome is created by a crystal cap that covers the flat slice of opal.
Rough opal parcels are sorted into three grades: tops, middle, and low. Each tops parcel has a King stone, which is the best stone in the parcel. Some parcels have several King stones. Colour is the primary criteria for grading, but the graders also take into consideration the number of imperfections and faults, and whether a stone is the right shape to be cut into an oval or one of the other popular shapes.
You can buy rough opal in several different conditions.
Mine Run. Direct from the mine. The stones have not been cut or ground down. This means that there is more guess work in the cutting. Purchasing mine run opal can be risky if you are not very experienced.
Opal Off Cuts. The miner has removed whatever opals he has a market for and sells you what's left. With off cuts, you can usually tell what you are going to be able to cut. You must still watch for cracks in the opal because once a crack becomes obvious, a stone can lose half its value.
Rubs. This can often be the best way of buying rough if you are not very experienced. The miner has cut and ground the stones into basic shapes, after having removed most of the rubbish. What you have left is the stone nearly ready for the dopping and polishing process. You have the satisfaction of cutting your own stones without the high risk of buying mine run rough.
Features of Opal that Determine Price
With each stone it is important to consider :
· Colours present in the stone (also called "play of colour") .
· Brightness of the stone - called the "fire" .
· Whether the stone is black, dark, boulder or light body tone .
· How saturated or intense the colours are .
· Whether the stone appears dull from any angles .
· Whether the stone is flat on top or has a rounded dome .
· The size and weight of the stone .
· The cut of the stone - even oval, or irregular freeform .
Opal Buying and Pricing Guide Tip 1. Under nearly all circumstances if a certain opal appeals to you that is the one you should buy. Often our intuition is the best judge! Tip 2. When purchasing opal some key words to look for are : A. Triplet a very thin slice of opal enhanced by blackening the underside of the opal to make the colours stronger and a quartz or plastic dome placed on top of the opal to magnify the colour and pattern. The advantage is they are cheap and fit readily into standard size jewelry. B. Doublet a thicker slice of opal with a blackened underside. The advantage over a triplet is the surface is real opal and affords a greater depth of colour. C. Solid as the name suggests a real and solid opal with no add ons. Therefore A has less value than B which has much less value than C when size colour and pattern are the same. Tip 3. Laboratory produced or treated matrix opal have far less value than triplets, doublets and solids. Tip 4. Solid opals come in many variations, if size pattern colour and shape are the same the most valuable opal will be. . 1Black opal the rarest and most highly prized of all. The best black opal comes from Lightning Ridge, Australia. Black opal has very rich and striking colours that are formed on a dark or black potch base. This dark base intensifies the colour. Black opal has been sold for as much as $14,000 per carat wholesale or field price. Outstanding quality for $10,000 per carat field price. Black opal with all the colours and good quality starts at around $2,000 per carat on the field. The opal may go through many sets of hands before arriving in the retail shop and so the retail price is much higher. Top quality black opal is very rare and in relation to many other gemstones is probably under priced. The investment potential for even medium grades of black opal is very very interesting. This is a resource that is fast disappearing ! 2 Boulder opal especially the darker variety. Boulder opal gets its name from the fact that an ironstone backing is part of its natural formation, the colours can also be quite brilliant and dazzling and gem quality also brings a high price almost matching the black opal prices. It would appear that there is a larger production and it is found over a much wider area (mainly Western Queensland ) than black opal and so the price of average grade material is somewhat lower. 3 Crystal opal or fire opal. This variety of opal can also be extra ordinarily beautiful and gem material can sell for $1000 per carat wholesale or field price. This opal is translucent and even transparent when held up to the light. Lightning Ridge, Andamooka and Coober Pedy are all produces of gem materials. Thinner pieces of crystal opal make the best doublets and triplets. 4 White opal. Gets its name from the white potch the colour forms on or in. Coober Pedy has produced very large quantities of white opal. This opal is much cheaper than the above mentioned varieties. This is partly due to some of this material being quite porous and brittle. However some white opal is still very attractive indeed and some of it is quite stable. 5 Water opal. I have left the Mexican water opal last, partly because it generally doesn't have the fire of the other opal families and partly because I haven't seen all that much of it. I have never been to the areas where it is produced, nor did I wish to leave this important category out. *Please note there are many opal fields in the world but because 90% of the World's production comes from Australia I have concentrated on them. Brazil, U. S. A. , Honduras and Indonesia also produce opals. Tip 5. Brightness of colour, play of colour ( what the colour does when you move the stone ) general appeal including patterns or pictures and colour combinations are all determining factors when valuing an opal. When these factors are the same then red will be the most valuable, followed by pink orange gold yellow green and the blue and then purple. Part of the reason for this value scale is that purple is the most common and red the rarest. Just to put things in perspective though, an opal showing very bright or electric blue can be valued as highly as an average red opal all other things being equal ! Tip 6. Use your intuitionOPAL NOMENCLATURE AND CLASSIFICATION Australian Gemstones: Opal INTRODUCTION Opal is Australia's National Gemstone. Australia produces 95% of the world's natural precious opal supply. This nomenclature encompasses all types and varieties of opal to provide a standardisation of terminology but does not establish any valuation methodology. The Australian Gemstone Industry Council Inc. , in collaboration with the Australian Gem Industry Association Ltd. , the Gemmological Association of Australia Ltd. , the Lightning Ridge Miners Association Ltd. And the Jewellers Association of Australia Ltd. , has produced the following nomenclature for the classification of opal. OPAL CLASSIFICATION Opal is a gemstone consisting of hydrated amorphous silica with the chemical formula SiO2. nH2O. There are two basic forms of opal described by visual appearance. Precious Opal - is opal which exhibits the phenomenon known as play-of-colour, produced by the diffraction of white light through a micro-structure of orderly arrayed silica spheres to produce changing spectral hues. Common Opal and Potch - is opal which does not exhibit a play-of-colour. The distinction between common opal and potch is based on formation and structure. Potch is structurally similar to precious opal but has a disorderly arrangement of silica spheres. Common opal shows some degree of micro crystallinity. TYPES OF NATURAL OPAL Natural opal is opal which has not been treated or enhanced in any way other than by cutting and polishing. There are three types of natural opal, with varieties described by the two characteristics of body tone and transparency. Natural Opal Type 1 - is opal presented in one piece in its natural state apart from cutting or polishing and is of substantially homogenous chemical composition. Natural Opal Type 2 - is opal presented in one piece where the opal is naturally attached to the host rock in which it was formed and the host rock is of a different chemical composition. This opal is commonly known as boulder opal. Natural Opal Type 3 - is opal presented in one piece where the opal is intimately diffused as infillings of pores or holes or between grains of the host rock in which it was formed. This opal is commonly known as matrix opal. VARIETIES OF NATURAL OPAL The variety of natural opal is determined by the two characteristics of body tone and transparency. Body Tone The body tone of an opal is different to the play-of-colour displayed in precious opal. There are three varieties of natural opal based on body tone. Body tone refers to the relative darkness or lightness of the opal when ignoring the play-of-colour. Black Opal - is the family of opal which shows a play-of-colour within or on a black body tone by reference to the AGIA Body Tone Chart N1, N2, N3 and N4 when viewed face up. Dark Opal - is the family of opal which shows a play-of-colour within or on a dark body tone by reference to the AGIA Body Tone Chart N5, N6 when viewed face up. Light Opal - is the family of opal which shows a play-of-colour within or on a light body tone by reference to the AGIA Body Tone chart N7, N8 or N9 when viewed face up. The N9 category is referred to as white opal. Opal with a distinct coloured body (such as yellow, orange, red or brown) should be classified as black, dark or light opal by reference to the AGIA Body Tone Chart with a notation stating its colour hue. Transparency Opal shows all forms of diaphaneity and ranges from transparent to opaque. Natural precious opal which is transparent to semi-transparent is known as crystal opal. Crystal opal can have either a black, dark or light body colour tone. The term "crystal" in this context refers to appearance not a crystalline structure. OPAL TREATMENTS Opal can be subjected to various types of treatment. Present CIBJO guidelines state that any method of treatment other than standard cutting and polishing must be disclosed and the process used specified on all invoices, advertising and commercial documents. Types of treatments include colour enhancement, heating, painting, dying, resins and waxes, oiling or any application of chemicals. Opal is treated to change its natural appearance, structure or durability. Opal is colour enhanced in opal inlay jewellery where usually a thin solid crystal opal has black paint or glue applied or set above black painted jewellery. COMPOSITE NATURAL OPAL Composite natural opal consists of natural opal laminates, manually cemented or attached to another material. The opal component is natural opal. There are three main forms of composite opal: Doublet Opals - are a composition of two pieces where a slice of natural opal is cemented to a dark base material. Triplet Opals - are a composition of three pieces where a thin slice of natural opal is cemented to a dark base material and a transparent top layer, usually of quartz or glass. Mosaic and Chip Opals - are a composition of small flat or irregularly shaped pieces of natural opal cemented as a mosaic tile on a dark base material or encompassed in a resin. SYNTHETIC OPAL Synthetic Opal is material which has essentially the same chemical composition and physical structure as natural opal but has been made by laboratory or industrial process. Synthetic composites exist as synthetic doublets, triplets or mosaics and must be disclosed as synthetic composites. IMITATION OPAL Imitation Opal is material which imitates the play-of-colour of natural opal, but does not have the same physical and chemical structure or gemmological constants as natural opal. CLASSIFICATION REPORTS Classification reports for the following types of opal should include these details: Natural Opal 1. Type of opal 2. Variety of opal as Black opal, Dark opal or Light opal with a body classification from N1 (Black) to N9 (White) based on the AGIA Body Tone Chart. 3. Transparency as opaque, translucent or transparent. Note if it is crystal opal. 4. Weight and dimensions Treated Opal 1. Type of opal 2. Variety of opal as Black, Dark or Light opal 3. Transparency as opaque, translucent or transparent. Note if it is crystal opal. 4. Type of Treatment and process if known 5. Weight and dimensions Composite Opal 1. Type of composite as doublet, triplet, mosaic or chip opal 2. Treatment process, where relevant 3. Dimensions Synthetic and Imitation 1. Gemmological category including manufacturer (if known) 2. Description (Body Tone) 3. If composite, mention type as doublet, triplet, mosaic or chip 4. Weight and dimensions, only dimensions if composite Origin Any indication of the origin of opal by the use of geographical location should not be used unless it is qualified as an indication of the type of locality only as recommended by the International Confederation of Jewellery, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls and Stones (CIBJO) such as Lightning Ridge type black opal. See also: What is an opal? AUSTRALIAN OPAL AND GEM INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION LIMITED A. C. N. 001 117 237 Suite 309, Grand United Building, 149 Castlereagh Street, Sydney 2000, Australia Phone: + 61 2 9267 1310 Fax: + 61 2 9267 1037
Numerous legends and tales surround this colourful gemstone, which can be traced back in its origins to a time long before our memory, to the ancient dream time of the Australian aborigines. It is reported in their legends that the creator came down to Earth on a rainbow, in order to bring the message of peace to all the humans. And at the very spot, where his foot touched the ground, the stones became alive and started sparkling in all the colours of the rainbow. That was the birth of the Opals.
Origins of the Name.
The name Opal was probably derived from Sanskrit "upala", meaning "valuable stone". This was probably the root for the Greek term "opallios", which translates as "colour change". In the days of Roman antiquity there existed a so-called "opalus", or a "stone from several elements". So the ancient Romans may already have had an inkling why the Opals show such a striking play of colours. But we will come to this later.
Pliny, the famous Roman author, called Opal a gemstone which combines the best possible characteristics of the most beautiful of gemstones: the fine sparkle of Almandine, the shining purple of Amethyst, the golden yellow of Topaz, and the deep blue of Sapphire, "so that all colours shine and sparkle together in a beautiful combination".
Up to the first half of the 19th century, Opals were relatively rare. But then their career boomed suddenly and made them one of the most popular gemstones, and the start of this development brought them to the gemstone cutters of the gemstone centre of Idar-Oberstein. In the era of Art Deco the Opals experienced their flourishing, with contemporary gemstone artists preferring them to all other stones because of their subdued charm, which in turn was excellently suited to be combined with enamel, another very popular material of those days.
The history of Australian Opal began actually millions of years ago, when parts of Australia were covered by a vast inland sea, and stone sediment was deposited along its shoreline. When the water masses flooded back, they flushed water containing silica into the resulting cavities and niches in the sedimentary rocks, and also the remains of plants and animals were deposited there. Slowly the silica stone transformed into Opal, for basically Opals are simply a combination of silica and water. Or, to be more precise: Opals are a gel from silica, with varying percentages of water.
- Amorphous .
- Shapeless. Not consisting of crystals. Non crystalline. Glass is amorphous. Sugar is crystalline.
- Deflection .
- The bending of rays of light from a straight line.
- Diffraction .
- The Breaking up of a ray of light into either a series of light and dark bands, or into coloured bands of the spectrum.
- Diffuse .
- To spread out so as to cover a larger space or surface. To scatter.
- Fluorescent .
- A light produced by the electrical stimulation of a gas or vapour. Fluorescent lights have a similar effect on opal as a bright cloudy day--they do not properly bring out the colours in opal
- Hydrate .
- A compound produced when certain substances chemically combine with water.
- Incandescent .
- Glowing with heat (red or white hot) as in a light bulb which glows white hot, but produces a light that more closely simulates natural sunlight. Sunlight and incandescent lights bring out the natural colours in opal.
- Opal .
- Opal comes from the Latin word opalus which means to see a change in colour. Chemically, opal is hydrated silica, similar to quartz.
- Opalescence .
- A play of colour, similar to that of an opal.
- Opaque .
- Not allowing light to pass through. The opposite of transparent.
- Play of Colour .
- The way in which colours change as an opal is tilted in different directions.
- Silica .
- (Silicon Dioxide) A hard, white or colourless substance, that in the form of quartz, enters into the composition of many rocks and is contained in sponges and certain plants. The needle in the mouth of a female mosquito is made of silica. Flint, sand, chalcedony, and opal are examples of silica in different forms.
- Spectrum .
- The band of colours formed when a beam of white light passes through a prism or by some other means (e. g. mist or spray, in the case of a rainbow) The full range of spectrum colours are: red, orange, yellow, green blue, indigo, and violet.
- Sphere .
- A round three dimensional geometric shape whose surface is equally distant at all points from the centre point.
- Translucent .
- Letting light through without being transparent.
- Transparent .
- Easily seen through. (glass like) .
Buying opal in the rough.
Opal uncut opal on the internet, buy samples first if possible. If some of the rough is faced it makes the opal rough parcel far less risk. If you're buying opal on the opal fields try to find clues in the rough parcel. Most rough is sold wet so you can see the colors as they will be when they are polished. This is standard practice. However it pays to wipe a few bits dry as this will show up any crazing or cracks often caused from contact with jackhammers or bulldozers etc ! Faced pieces will show up the general character of the whole parcel usually. Opal miners don't mind you taking a good close look at their product, but if you find something you don't like be discreet. Never knock or rubbish some ones opal. . . . . They've probably worked really hard for it and they won't like unkind comments and you won't like being hung upside down by one leg over a deep mineshaft either!
Boulder opal gets its name from the fact that an ironstone backing is part of its natural formation, the colours can also be quite brilliant and dazzling and gem quality boulder opals also brings a high price almost matching the black opal prices. It would appear that there is a larger production and it is found over a much wider area (mainly Western Queensland ) than black opal and so the price of average grade material is somewhat lower. There is also boulder matrix opal which has tiny lines of colour running through the boulder host rock. This material is cheaper but attractive and popular in Germany as a semi-precious form of opal
Opal gems Australian Black Opal Opals Australia. It formed millions of years ago, when liquid silica filled voids or crevices in ironstone boulders. When cutting this type of opal, the natural rock is removed from one side of the opal, exposing the face of the stone. The natural stone is left on the back of the opal to give the opal its strength and bolder colors. Boulder Opal is a unique gem, found in every color of the rainbow. It is durable . Boulder Opal jewelry requires no special care, can be worn for all occasions.
Types of Opal Primary Terms Black opal, precious opal with black body color. Also used for black potch covered with thin layer of crystal opal that lets the black under layer show through. Semiblack, or gray opal, precious opal with dark body color. White opal, precious opal with white or very light body color. Crystal opal, transparent to semitransparent, colorless body with play of color. Doublets and Triplets make use of opal that is too thin to use as a solid gemstone. A doublet is a thin layer of precious opal glued to a black base. A triplet adds a transparent, quartz cap. . . . Purists prefer the base material to be common opal. However many black materials are used, including old phonograph records . Black crystal opal, transparent to semitransparent opal, with dark body color and play of color. Fire opal, translucent to transparent, with yellow, orange, or red body color. May or may not have play of color. Also called Mexican opal or Sun opal. Boulder opal, a thin seam of precious opal on ironstone matrix. Since this is a natural occurrence, its value is higher than that of a man made doublet. The ironstone is very dark, which makes the fire stand out and gives a close resemblance to black opal. Matrix opal consists of thin seams or spots of precious opal in matrix. The matrix is usually dark ironstone, but occasionally a light sand stone. Also called Mass opal.
Types of Opal Primary Terms .
Black opal, precious opal with black body color. Also used for black potch covered with thin layer of crystal opal that lets the black under layer show through.
Semiblack, or gray opal, precious opal with dark body color.
White opal, precious opal with white or very light body color.
Crystal opal, transparent to semitransparent, colorless body with play of color.
Doublets and Triplets make use of opal that is too thin to use as a solid gemstone. A doublet is a thin layer of precious opal glued to a black base. A triplet adds a transparent, quartz cap. . . . Purists prefer the base material to be common opal. However many black materials are used, including old phonograph records ..
Black crystal opal, transparent to semitransparent opal, with dark body color and play of color.
Fire opal, translucent to transparent, with yellow, orange, or red body color. May or may not have play of color. Also called Mexican opal or Sun opal.
Boulder opal, a thin seam of precious opal on ironstone matrix. Since this is a natural occurrence, its value is higher than that of a man made doublet. The ironstone is very dark, which makes the fire stand out and gives a close resemblance to black opal.
Black Opal . A Black Opal is so named because of its natural dark base colour which can be black, dark blue or dark gray. The surface colours can range from a variety of blues and greens to all the brilliant colours of the rainbow. It is found in two centres of Australia---Lightning Ridge in New South Wales and Mintabie in South Australia. The Lightning Ridge Opal is the better of the two, due to brilliance and intensity of colour. The Lightning Ridge Black Opal is the most expensive of all the opal types, on a dollars per carat basis, due to its absolute rarity and the demand from collecters around the world.
White Opal . The White Opal has a whitish base colour all over the gemstone. The brilliant colours emanate from this white base. One of the differences between White Opal and Black and Boulder Opal is the colour play generally extends from surface to base, or from skin to skin, whereas the other two types have a naturally occuring single base colour, differing from its surface colours. With a light texture base, this material can appear from a superior crystal gel form emerging with interplay of different firy bright colours down to a purely white milky solid. It is usually drawn from the mines in Coober Pedy, Andamooka in South Australia.
Boulder Opal . Found only in Queensland, this rare Opal was formed from silicon diozide and other minerals finding their way into the fissures of ironstone. The cutter must always take a little of this natural ironstone when extracting a gemstone and this gives the dark overall colour which does not detract from the Boulder Opal. When little or no ironstone appears in the face of Boulder Opal, the price of Boulder equals that of very fine Black Opals. The natural occurrence of Boulder allows for particularly interesting shapes which in the hands of a creative jeweller makes for stunning creations.
Triplet / Triplex. It is a three part piece consisting of the base (either vitrolite, plastic or obsidian), a centre slice of White Opal which has been painted black on the underside to give a Black Opal "look alike" appearance and has a top of Quartz as a protection for the thin layer of Opal (which is usually sliced to only 1000th of an inch).
Doublet Opal . Same as a triplet, but no quartz top. The Opal slice is usually rounded a little for a cabachon effect. It is made by gluing slices of precious opal to a common opal backing with blackened cement, usually an epoxy resin. The dark backing enhances the colours of the opal. Boulder Opal Doublet comprises of a layer of white opal on the top and attached by another layer of iron-backing stone from Boulder Opal underneath.
Matrix. There are two types of Matrix, one is known as Andamooka Matrix which is sugar and acid treated, Opal bearing rock, and the other is Queensland Boulder Matrix. Queensland Boulder Matrix is natural, but is not included in this collection except for a few bead items. It is simply naturally-occuring Opal and ironstone in a pepper and salt pattern.
Matrix opal consists of thin seams or spots of precious opal in matrix. The matrix is usually dark ironstone, but occasionally a light sand stone. Also called Mass opal. Opal also shows one of the best spectral displays of any gemstone, hence its value. It is made up of layers of precipitated silica spheres in a jelly-like water mass, and the ordering of the spheres sometimes produce a diffraction grating, that creates a play of rainbow sparkling light from within the stone.
There are fundamentally three types of opals: precious opals (containing flashes of fire), the yellow-reddish "fire opal" which is named for its color (not flashes of fire), and common opal (sometimes called "potch opal").
"Common opals" are rarely transparent, but may be colored or contain inclusions. It is used as backing for the more desirable varieties of precious opal, but may also be cabbed to produce interesting opal stones. It comes in white, gray, yellow, blue, green, pink, and may be dendritic or contain moss.
"fire opal" is named for its fiery red opal color, and not the opal flashes from within. Today most fire opal comes from Mexico and is often cut into faceted gem stones. It runs from a deep red to many shades of orange and even on to yellow. It may have a few flashes of fire, but usually it is sold for the color and clarity. It is not particularly expensive as it suffers from the same physical characteristics as all opals, and contains little of the desired color flash.
"Precious Opals" - this is the material with the internal "opal color play", "flash", or "opal light show". It is classified by its back ground color, the particular colors and intensity of color display, and its size. Stones that are predominantly white opal or light blue opal are the most common, and those that contain reds, oranges, and violets are considered more desirable. Blue and green are very common in most precious opals. Black opals, opals containing a predominantly black background (dark-gray to blue-black) is the rarest opal, and most desired of all opals. When it contains reds and oranges it brings black opal even a higher value. It may be priced right up with the top gemstones (diamond, emerald, and ruby). The very best black opals came from Lightening Ridge NSW Australia. Small amounts still reach the market today, but there have been no major black opal finds in many years.
The birthstone gemstone for the month of Janury is the garnet gemstone, which was once thought to be connected with the blood. This stone is supposed to protect the wearer from nightmares and offer guidance through the dark.
Garnets gemstones are long lasting and durable gems, with a fiery, ravishing beauty. This is type of gemstone that the wearer will treasure forever, no matter what item of jewellery it is set into. Garnet gemstone are traditionally thought of as deep red, but actually come in a wide range of colours, so there is something to suit every taste for this month.
The birthstone gemstone for the month of Feb is the amethyst, and the folklore attached to this gemstone associates it with sobriety, tranquillity, protection and peace. This birthstone as also been linked to improving the skin and preventing baldness, as well as protection from deceit, so it has a lot to live up to!
The amethyst birthstone comes in varying shades of purple, and can be a pale lilac in colour. On the other end of the scale, you can also get deep violet amethysts, which means that you can enjoy a birthstone that is as subtle or as rich as you like. This birthstone is very hardwearing, and its strength and durability will ensure that it lasts for a very long time.
This month's gemstone birthstone is aquamarine, which has been linked to the making of new friends as well as affection and love, hope and health. This gemstone was once also thought to protect those at sea.
As the name of this birthstone suggests, it is a green-blue in colour and has a rich, sparkling look. You can get aquamarine birthstones in a variety of shapes and sizes, and you can also get this gemstone in varying shades of green-blue.
One of the most popular gemstone throughout history, diamonds are the birthstone gemstone for this month, and these stones are linked to love, eternity and strength. This has contributed towards diamonds being the most popular gems of all time when it comes to romance, such as engagement rings and wedding bands, Opals go well with diamonds.
Diamonds are very strong and hardwearing, making them the perfect birthstone gemstone to wear on a daily basis. You can enjoy many different cuts of this stone, and the fiery, glamorous sparkle given off by diamonds is positively captivating.
This month's birthstone gemstone is the beautiful emerald, once linked to health and the curing of ailments, as well as being associated with the ability to see in to the future, giving them an almost bewitching, magical reputation,Opals go well with emerald.
These fiery green gemstone is amazing to look at, and can be found in a variety of shapes and cuts. The beauty and richness of this gemstone makes it the perfect gemstone for birthstone jewellery, and is something that the wearer can show off and take pride in for a long time.
The elegant pearl is the birthstone gemstone for the month of June, and this gem has been linked with chastity and modesty, making it something of an angelic, pure birthstone. They are also linked to successful and happy marriages,Opals go well with pearls.
These round, stunning birthstones gemstone come in a variety of colours, and a range of sizes. Pearls can look spectacular yet modest in all manner of jewellery from birthstone rings, to earrings and necklaces, making them a perfect gift. Opals go well with pearls in jewelry.
The birthstone gemstone for this month is the ravishing ruby, a stone traditionally linked with protection and harmony. This birthstone gemstone has been mined since ancient times, and boasts a spectacular beauty.
Deep red in colour, rubies are stunning birthstones that will liven up and enhance any piece of jewellery. These gems have a unique, vivid and fiery appearance that would delight anyone,Opals go well with ruby and jewelry.
The birthstone gemstone for the month of August is peridot, which was commonly linked with protection against evil and night terrors, as well as a gem that enhanced the properties of healing drugs.
Lime green in colour, this birthstone gemstone is a by-product of volcanic action, and comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This birthstone gemstone gives off its own unique energy, and is strong and durable.
Sumptuous sapphire is the birthstone gemstone associated with September, and this gem has been linked with faith and purity, as well as foresight. It was thought that the stronger the sparkle of the gem, the more faithful and honest the wearer. Opals go well with sapphire and jewelry
These birthstones gemstone look stunning in all types of jewellery, especially in white gold and platinum metal. However, sapphires can come in other colours as well as blue. These are strong and durable gems that will last for years to come, and can be passed down to future generations.
The birthstone of October is the opal,black opals,white opal,gray opals, Australal Queensland opals,Black crytal opal,crytal opal, a gemstone that has been linked to purity, hope and innocence. This gem has also been linked to healing forces, friendship and emotion, so it has experienced its fair share of folklore over the years.
This type of birthstone comes in white or black, and both variations have remnants of other colours within them. Opals have a unique look and beauty, making them a very interesting birthstone with a strangely exquisite appearance.
The birthstone gemstone for this month is topaz, once linked with sanity, healing, and life, as well as being connected to strength by the ancient Greeks. This gemstone has even been linked to an ability to make the wearer invisible in dangerous situations.
This birthstone comes in a range of colours, all of which will enhance any jewel with a fiery sparkle. Colours include golden, blue, pale green, pink and red, as well as some other rare colours. A stunning gem, topaz boasts both beauty and strength.
The given birthstone gemstone for December is turquoise, and this precious gemstone was once linked to happiness, fortune and luck, making it a very popular gem in centuries gone by.
Turquoise can range in colour from mid-blue to a green-blue or light green colour, and this birthstone gemstone is unusual and beautiful, making it a very distinctive and unusual addition to any jewellery collection.
Links with other important Opal jewelry and jewelers websites that you might enjoy. Disclaimer: all links are chosen carefully but grahamblackopal can't endorse or take any responsibility whatsoever for these sites.
Opals ,Web Page:Opals,Opal jewelry,gemstones Black Opal Links.
Telephone:+61 731033023 Skype name: midnight507e-mail Opal gem hunter @ opals@grahamblackopal. com
Internet Opals An outstanding and unique opal site in Coober Pedy, South Australia, that brings beautiful opals, opal rings, opal jewelry and opal rough direct from the opal miner to you.
Berryd Opals have Rough opal, Gem Quality, Solid opals, Doublets and Triplet opal, Specimen, fossil and Opal Jewelry including opal rings. Coober Pedy field prices as I sell for the miners. We hope by using this website you experience opal at its best with the advantage of the latest Secure Credit Card Transactions
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Australia's National gemstone Opal from Mintabie ,Coober Pedy,Andamooka-South Australia, Whithe Cliffs and Lightning Ridge-New South Wales and all fields in Queensland:Winton,Logreach, Quilpie,Jundah,Cunnamulla and Eromanga areas. Most of the rich and famous mines are mined out over the last 150 years and valuble and rare specimens of opals sold out and can not be replaced. We saved them and we are presenting them here for your perusal.
Opal-Network, Opal Exporters & opal WholesalersOpal-Network provides rough opal parcels and opal rubs and all types of solid cut and polished opals . We have commercial lots to the finest gems, unique specimens and a variety of opalised fossils.
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We take malleable metal versus a rigid stone and we blend the two. In our clumsy way, we can bend, stretch, drill and screw the unbendable, the unstretchable, the undrillable and the unscrewable.
OPAL JEWELRY Opal LINKS.
Jewelry Directory by U. S. States. Jewelry Directory by States helps you to find local jeweler and jewelry information including jewelry stores on the internet where you can find wholesale prices, jewelry discounts, antique, vintage, and estate jewelry, jewelry findings and more
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OPALS FORUM SECTION WWW. GRAHAMBLACKOPAL. COM DECEMBER 2011
Richest opal field in the history of the Black opal industry, "the 3 mile opal field lightning Ridge Australia . The largest uncut Black opal was found next door to my 3 mile opalopen cut mine. Terry and his brother had the opal claim next to mine" where the Halley's comet Guinness book of records Opal were found . The two old brothers where involved in a shared claim mining adventure with me at the same time I was open cutting the famous 3 mile. " Sadly the two old miners passed away shortly after working my claim at the Corcoran Opal fields .
I was" very privilege and grateful for the experience I gained working with the Barclays brothers" " ,as I am the last opal hunter to work with the famous Halley's comet opal guys . Terrys opals"stories were great to hear as there are not many true opal characters left these days . When Terry first arrived at lightning Ridge the brothers were in touch with the last of the British pioneers and Opal explorers of the region around lightning Ridge Australia . They nick named him the wrecker "the last of the wild colonial boys he was a true opal hunter character . You can see me in the 2 videos i am walking around the famous opals open cut mine, and the other Youtube video viewing opals rough hoping to find some of the best quality Opals ever produced for the international jewelry market . By the way the opals rough nobbly gemstone in the Youtube videos I was showing and talking about when cut was a superb rare Harlequin pattern multicolour predominantly red 5-5 brightness 9 carrot Gem Black opal . I was so happy because at that stage the cost of the opal gemstone open cut at lightning Ridge had cost me financially out-of-pocket a lot of money. Today the famous 3 mile Opal field lightning Ridge as a government protected order in place to protect it for future generations of Australians, where the rarest opal pattern of all was first discovered the gem Harlequin Opal pattern . The Sydney state government has applied for a Federal government grant to build the Australian opal Centre next door to my 3 mile opal open cut mine. Where the Sydney Museum palaeontologist will have a display of opal fossilis and artefacts from 30 million years ago. I still remember the second opal bearing level when I entered it I discovered a ancient inland river which ran through my Opal claim and I could clearly see the bottom of the river as it was lined with fossilised plant and weed . During processing and washing the opal Clay around the 30 million year old watercourse where I removed 12 m of over burden and Opal Clay . I discovered many seashells and large seeds from trees conifer along with what could have been a large dinosaurs canine tooth.OPALS FORUM SECTION WWW. GRAHAMBLACKOPAL. COM DECEMBER 10th 2011
Opal miners and pioneers of the Australian opals industry in the north west of the State of New South Wales the capital Sydney . A full day's drive to where the rarest deposits of opal gemstones were discovered in the town of lightning Ridge where the famous Black opals are also found . Opals are found 10 m to 30m underground, most opal mining methods were opals shaft and tunneling methods, back in the days of the early opals pioneers over 100 years ago. The famous opal region of lightning Ridge obtane its name because of the iron stone ridge that to days township's is built on as it is like a magnet that attracts lightning. Opals prospectors along with the early cattle and sheep squatters were struck and died by the lightning strikes. But it was not long after there was a new strike . " "The beautiful exotic opals,a strike a rush that even today there has never been a gemstone that rivals the rare and unique exotic Black opals, multicolour predominantly red mystical pattern of the Harlequin opals that was found at the 3 mile opal field lightning Ridge Australia. The opal jewelry is spectacular the exotic Black opals designed into jewelry has to be seen to appreciate the beauty of Opals & jewelry. The early opals miner's had no power tools only hand held picks and shovels digging rectangle opal shape shafts by hand , opals shafts were often about a meter long and . 7m wide. Many cases only the first level was worked extensively by the early pioneers of opals. Lots of rough opals or uncut opals was never found because of the lack of bright electrical lighting which would limit any opal colour which was exposed to the naked eye in the face of the opal drives. The early pioneers of the Australian opal industry at lightning Ridge had to be very strong ,heat flies little freshwater ,opal miners at ground level would use a hand held windless where he would whinge wine the handle which was connected by steel cable to a bucket at the bottom of the opal shaft. Underground a Chinese style wheel barrow was often preferred over a Western-style barrow so they could move clay and over burden soil etc " an maybe if lucky opals, everything was placed in a steel bucket to be hand winched to the surface of the Australian outback even including the opal tools, as tools were rare and were used above ground for building the early opal miners homes shelters. The opals miners homes were not much more then hubbpy's all flimsy shelters, as the early opals pioneers lived a harsh life as freshwater medical help was scarce. Processing the opal clay was always done above ground where strong sun light helped to see the opal colours, the opal guys homes were often situated on or around the opals claims . A wire mesh strainer and old bed also could be used, as stockpiles of dry opal clay that had been dried out in the baking sun for months was broadcast over the mesh which allow the solids opals nobly and opals porch seam to be examined. The opals & jewelry are unique the exotic Black Opals designed into jewelry is a gift that will be appreciated for life.