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.

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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.

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