Some­where over the rain­bow flag

South Aus­tralian Mu­seum to dis­play ‘world’s finest opal’

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

An Aus­tralian mu­seum said Mon­day it would ex­hibit what it be­lieves is the best opal stone ever found — a 6.0-cen­time­ter multi-col­ored gem un­earthed in the Out­back named the Vir­gin Rain­bow.

The South Aus­tralian Mu­seum said the stone, val­ued at more than AU$1 mil­lion (US$730,000), would go on public dis­play for the first time in Septem­ber to mark the cen­te­nary of opal min­ing in the coun­try.

“It’s of un­equalled qual­ity, it’s a fully crys­tal opal,” mu­seum di­rec­tor Brian Old­man told AFP.

“It’s al­most as if there’s a fire in there; you see all dif­fer­ent col­ors. As the light changes, the opal it­self changes. It’s quite an amaz­ing trick of na­ture.”

Dug up in the South Aus­tralia desert town of Coober Pedy in 2003 by lo­cal min­ers, the Vir­gin Rain­bow came into the mu­seum’s pos­ses­sion about 18 months ago and will be part of an ex­hi­bi­tion open­ing in Ade­laide next month.

Some 90 per­cent of the world’s opals come from South Aus­tralia, once cov­ered by an in­land sea which over mil­lions of years pro­vided an ideal en­vi­ron­ment for the for­ma­tion of the stone.

“I think this ex­hi­bi­tion will have the finest col­lec­tion of pre­cious opals that we be­lieve have been brought to one place in the world,” Old­man added.

Bordeaux is France’s big­gest wine-grow­ing re­gion and most peo­ple as­so­ciate it with red wine. White wines — dry and sweet — rep­re­sent a mere 10 per­cent of cur­rent pro­duc­tion.

But that was not al­ways the case. Un­til the 1970s white wine pro­duc­tion was about the same level as red in the re­gion. Trends and fash­ion in­flu­ence wine as much as any­thing else in so­ci­ety.

Bordeaux’s whites have im­proved markedly in re­cent years. One of the rea­sons is the work of Pro­fes­sor De­nis Dubour­dieu and his team at Bordeaux Univer­sity. They have iden­ti­fied spe­cific aro­mas that give Sauvi­gnon Blanc its char­ac­ter­is­tic aro­mas and taste. This in­sight has led to im­proved wine­mak­ing tech­niques.

Bordeaux whites are typ­i­cally blends of Sauvi­gnon Blanc, Semil­lon and Mus­cadelle, some­times with a touch of Sauvi­gnon Gris. Some wines de­signed for early drink­ing are made only with Sauvi­gnon Blanc, and these can be re­fresh­ing and charm­ing on a sum­mer’s day.

Sauvi­gnon Blanc gives Bordeaux

AP

A large rain­bow flag is car­ried dur­ing the Van­cou­ver Pride Pa­rade in Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Columbia, Sun­day, Aug. 2. Or­ga­niz­ers ex­pected hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple to take part in the pa­rade.

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