Own the beauty of Australia today!
Australia’s Natural National Treasure, mined and designed in Australia. Secure yourself a piece of Australian History in store now at Anthonys Fine Jewellery.
Opal is the birthstone for October and traditionally the gift for a 14th wedding anniversary.
Free form opals are one of our favourite stones to design into jewellery because of their unique shapes and hues. Our designers here at Anthonys Fine Jewellery love to create one off custom makes for their clients featuring Australian Opals and coloured gemstones to highlight the world of colours within each stone. We also carry bespoke collections including our Jobson Couture and bybriannayvonne, designers who both love to use Opals as a feature in many of their pieces.
The name Opal is believed to be derived from the Greek “Opallos” meaning to “see a change of colour”. The variety of elements present in opals create unique colours and characteristics. The finest quality of opals emit flashes of colours and command prices similar to the finest Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds. Australian Opal is not only our National Gem but also one of the worlds rarest. Ranging from any colour to all colours at once, the value of an opal is generally determined by its colour composition and clarity. Coveted around the globe for their cloudy glow and the way light dances behind the surface of the smooth, coloured stone.
How Australian Opal is formed
Opals are the looking glass into the Jurassic era with the stones starting to form 65-140 million years ago. In the age of Pangaea and Gondwana land, central Australia was covered by a giant inland sea. Dinosaurs were the major fauna of the earth at this time; opalised fossil remains of dinosaurs are a legacy of this period.
As the inland sea retreated, silica rich sands were deposited, onto what is now a desert area. Weather conditions changed and sand sediments released large quantities of soluble silica, creating a silica gel.
The silica gel seeped down through the sedimentary structure of the area, into its cracks and crevices, hardening through natures heating processes, resulting in the creation of opal. Due to the mineral content of the host rocks in which the hardening process occurred, which affects the body tone of the opal; different types of opal were formed.
Where is Opal from?
Common Opal is found in a limited number of countries. A small amount of precious Opal is found in Brazil and Mexico. However, 96% of the worlds precious opal comes from three isolated areas in the outback of Australia. Australian stones can easily be distinguished by their brilliance and play of colour.
Type of Opals
The opal fields of Australia are in the harsh outback where only the hardened miner can make a living.
Boulder opal is found throughout Queensland. The term boulder comes from the ironstone on which the layer of opal is formed, often giving the opal an uneven surface to further enhance the array of colours.
Opal is formed in narrow cavities of the ironstone, when split they often form what are called ‘boulder pairs’
Black opal is typically a dark or black background colour with the face of the stone radiating brilliant hues of red, blue, green, and orange. This rare gemstone, prized for its dazzling play of colour, hides out of sight in the Australian outback beneath a town roughly 720 kms northwest of Sydney.And for more than 100 years, people have come to the Ridge to find their fortune chasing precious opal as it’s the only place in the world where black opal is commercially mined. It’s hard not to get lost in the deep beauty of the black gemstone as the solid darkness intensifies the playfulness of the colour that darts around the stone as it reflects the surrounding light.
Also referred to as ‘Light Opal’ comes from Mintabie, Coober Pedy and Andamooka in South Australia
It can be identified by a light body tone. Light opal is usually found in seams, unlike most other types of precious opal, allowing it to be cut into standard sizes, for use in collections of jewellery.
No other gemstone diffracts white light the way the opal does, making it one of the most sought-after gems worldwide
Australian treasure makes memorable jewellery pieces – especially when combined with another Australian gem, the illustrious pink diamond.
For more information about Australian opals or diamond pieces, visit our Brisbane boutiques today.