Rain­bow Trea­sures

It’s all in the fam­ily at Opal Minded, as their opal trea­sures head from the mines of Jun­dah straight to their bou­tique in The Rocks.

Where Sydney - - Contents -

OPALS ARE A REL­A­TIVELY lit­tle-known gem­stone. They are found in North and South Amer­ica, Europe and Africa. They can be pro­duced in a lab­o­ra­tory (with a mixed ef­fect), and made into a com­pos­ite stones of opal dou­blets and triplets. But solid Aus­tralian opals are dif­fer­ent. They are rare. They are the bench­mark for the pre­cious opals of the world. They are bright and more durable than other stones.

Jun­dah in the south-west of Queensland pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive col­lec­tion of out­stand­ing opals. Jun­dah’s opal mines are si­t­u­ated in the opal min­ing area his­tor­i­cally known as Opalville. This area has a rep­u­ta­tion for pro­duc­ing a great va­ri­ety of high qual­ity opals, in­clud­ing some of the most beau­ti­ful opals ever found—such as the world-fa­mous Galaxy. Opalville is also one of the most chal­leng­ing and re­ward­ing opal min­ing ar­eas in Aus­tralia. Only those with a great pas­sion for nat­u­ral won­ders are brave enough to tackle the ex­treme, de­sert­like con­di­tions in search of Aus­tralia’s rain­bow-in­fused an­ces­tral stone. Leg­end has it that opals were cre­ated when a rain­bow fell to Earth and shat­tered to pieces, which turned into beau­ti­ful opals.

Jun­dah-opalville is unique for hav­ing pro­duced every type of opal ever found in our Great South­ern Land. This in­cludes black opal, boul­der opal, light opal and crys­tal pipe opal, all of which have been con­tin­u­ally found in Jun­dah since the 19th cen­tury. At the turn of the 19th cen­tury, be­tween 100 to 600 opal min­ers worked in Opalville in ex­treme con­di­tions, fore­go­ing wa­ter and sus­te­nance in exchange for the ex­cite­ment of un­cov­er­ing opals that have been the bench­mark for the opal in­dus­try ever since.

The splen­dour of Jun­dah opals was the rea­son why the founder of Opal Minded in The Rocks, Mr John Bernard, de­cided to sit­u­ate the com­pany’s min­ing op­er­a­tions there. In 1989, Mr Bernard founded the opal jew­ellery bou­tique in the heart of Sydney’s his­tor­i­cal The Rocks.

A life­long ad­mirer of opal’s unique­ness and ex­quis­ite beauty, Mr Bernard mines Opalville’s riches un­de­terred by the lonely na­ture of his pur­suits. Opal Minded to­day holds sev­eral opal min­ing leases in Queensland, con­tin­u­ing half a cen­tury of opal min­ing fam­ily tra­di­tion. More than half a cen­tury ago, Mr Bernard’s fa­ther John Benny Bernard found his des­tiny it in the opal mines of Cobber Pedy and the opal fields of Queensland, hav­ing sailed to Aus­tralia in search of great adventure. In 2007, his son John Bernard Ju­nior mar­ried Re­nata Mu­rawska, an academic and au­thor, whose cre­ative di­rec­tion took Opal Minded to the new level of qual­ity and re­fine­ment.

To the Bernards, Opal Minded is about au­then­tic­ity, in­tegrity, pas­sion and hap­pi­ness. And Jun­dah re­wards their de­vo­tion by pro­duc­ing opals known for their su­perb qual­ity and in­fin­itely al­lur­ing colour play.

Ac­cord­ing to John Bernard Ju­nior, “When you see a true gem­stone opal, you never forget it. Like a rare song in a lan­guage you don’t un­der­stand, but you feel its mysterious power. That’s why I keep min­ing opals.”

Un­like many other gems, the lu­mi­nos­ity of Jun­dah stones is so splen­did that they can mes­merise on­look­ers in near to­tal dark­ness. Each opal is unique in colour, pattern and value, and each car­ries a special mes­sage.

When it shat­tered, the an­ces­tral rain­bow cre­ated an opal for each per­son seek­ing a con­nec­tion with the world of magic. Visit Opal Minded at 55 Ge­orge Street, The Rocks, to find that special piece of rain­bow that na­ture has cre­ated es­pe­cially for you.

All im­ages courtesy Opal Minded.

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