Aus­tralian Opals shine bright

Aus­tralian opal is not only the world’s most fas­ci­nat­ing and colour­ful gem­stone, it can also be a sound long-term in­vest­ment.

Where Sydney - - Contents -

CALLED ‘THE RAIN­BOW STONE’ by Aus­tralia’s Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple, opal is with­out doubt one of nature’s most re­mark­able gifts. It is now recog­nised as one of the five pre­cious gem­stones in the world, along with di­a­monds, emer­alds, ru­bies and sap­phires, and is an ex­cel­lent in­vest­ment.

While small amounts of opals may be found in other coun­tries such as Ethiopia, Mex­ico and the USA, Aus­tralia pro­duces more than 90 per cent of the world’s sup­ply. The ro­mance of the opal is in the gem’s in­cred­i­ble abil­ity to ex­pose an in­fi­nite num­ber of colours, for­ever mov­ing with the light. Mined in the out­back of Aus­tralia across three states, it is as much the call of the out­back that lures the opal miner and keeps them go­ing. Scorched land­scapes and blaz­ing red sun­sets, the night stars from hori­zon to hori­zon, this is a haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful coun­try that pen­e­trates one’s soul.

The elu­sive opal was formed mil­lions of years ago when liq­uid sil­ica fil­tered down into the faults and fis­sures of sed­i­men­tary rock. When the wa­ter con­tent evap­o­rated, tiny spheres of sil­ica re­mained and over time were so­lid­i­fied.

The in­ten­sity and com­bi­na­tion of colour oc­cur with such va­ri­ety that each gem has an in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter.

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