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.
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.