Opals: How to choose the best gems
AUSTRALIAN OPAL IS NOT ONLY THE WORLD’S MOST FASCINATING AND COLOURFUL GEMSTONE, IT CAN ALSO BE A SOUND LONG-TERM INVESTMENT.
PRECIOUS OPAL IS TRULY
Australia’s national gemstone. Australia produces a large percentage of the world’s finest quality opal, recognised throughout the major gem centres of the world as a rare and precious gemstone. This is why so many overseas visitors purchase their opal when they visit Australia.
The history of opal goes back to the 1st Century AD when Pliny wrote of opal as the ‘Queen of Gems’. In Roman times it was included in the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. Rumour has it that the Roman senator, Nonius, preferred exile rather than sell his valuable opal to Mark Anthony for presentation to Cleopatra.
WHERE ARE OPALS MINED IN AUSTRALIA?
The three main areas are:
NEW SOUTH WALES: Lightning Ridge
This is the home of the rare and famous black opal, which derives its name from the body colour of the ‘nobbies’ or nodules. Black opals were first discovered at Lightning Ridge in 1903. Today, top quality black stones are generally the most valuable of all opal varieties. The rarest and most valuable colour combination is red on a black base, but deep greens, oranges, golds and electric blues are very sought after. They are very rare, beautiful and unique.
Opal from Anania Jewellers.