Rainbow Treasures Feature Headline
It’s all in the family at Opal Minded, as their opal treasures head from the mines of Jundah–opalville straight to their boutique in The Rocks.
RECENTLY, WE SPOKE with Renata Bernard, the Creative Director and General Manager of Opal Minded, to unlock the secrets of the opals from their Jundah mines. Australian opals are more precious than others found in North and South America, Europe and Africa. What is so unique about Australian opals and why do they make for such a stunning piece? What differentiates our opals from those found elsewhere is Australian opals’ outstanding colour play coupled with their sedimentary origin, which also often makes them more durable. In short, Australian opals due to their superior aesthetic and durability characteristics constitute the benchmark for the others. Australian opals are not a static stone. Their beauty is in the uniqueness of their colour play and pattern in movement. You are involved in the process right from the moment the opal is mined from the ground. How does this start-to-finish investment set your creations apart? It all starts with John, my husband, finding a trace of opal, and that’s not easy. He then cuts the host rock and blocks it into progressively smaller pieces until we decide on the shape that maximises colour play and the setting potential of the opal in it.
Having the control over the shaping of the stones after they get out of the ground as well as of the jewellery creation gives us a unique advantage of working directly with nature, so the result is infused with our, that is John’s and my, vision, which gives a finished piece its unique identity. Opal mining is dusty, difficult and lonely work. What keeps you motivated to seek and share the gem? What keeps John motivated is the great treasure hunter dream of finding the opal with no equals. For me and our Opal Minded team, John’s treasure hunt means we can share the joy and the privilege of the first-hand opal mining story that comes with every gemstone from our mines. Opal Minded is a family business from the mines to the store. How do you split the responsibilities, and do you think the finished product is better for it? My husband grew up in an opal mining family, so naturally I could never step into that line of work. He understands the bush. He can withstand it for a long time. I, on the other hand, love being in the mines to pay respect to the land that bears this magnificent gemstone and the hardships involved in delivering it. What does the Australian opal tell visitors about the land? Australian opals tell the story of ancient times when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It tells a story of the inland sea, of the creatures that used to populate it. It tells a story of hardship, desire and hope. A story of the impossible becoming possible and the beauty found in the most arid places.
To view your own piece of Australian history, visit Opal Minded’s luxurious light filled boutique in the historic Rocks district, where you will be mesmerised by Australia’s national gemstone.