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Gem School 04: Australian Opals

 

Like looking into the cosmos, an opal displays dazzling arrays of colour and pattern that make it like no other gemstone.

Australia is the largest producer of high quality opal with 97% of the world’s supply coming from areas like Coober Pedy (white opal) and Lightning Ridge (black opal), where Melanie has often travelled to meet directly with miners and cutters, sourcing unique stones for her designs.

"Lightning Ridge black opal is one of my favourite gems due to the incredible colour play and quality of the stone; it’s amongst the most sought after opal in the world. I am proud to champion local and ethically mined gems produced in this ancient land as I firmly believe in supporting local industry.

It is believed that opal formation began during the early Cretaceous period when dinosaurs walked the earth, over 100 million years ago. I am fascinated by this long geological history and the potential to uncover these natural treasures and present them to a modern audience."

Yet why is the opal so maligned?

At various times in history, the opal has been connected to misfortune. Opals were very rare until the 19th century and it is thought that when high quality opal was first discovered in Australia during the late 19th century, jealous diamond merchants and dealers spread word of opals bringing bad luck as they were threatened by the loss of trade.

Since then, opal has shaken off much of this unfair reputation and become a popular gem once more. This chameleon gemstone changes as you move; the unique way it can show all the colours of the rainbow makes it unlike any other gem!

If you'd like to learn more about the history of opals and how to care for them, head to our Gem School page. If you've already fallen for this enchanting gem, shop our Opal Element collection to discover your next favourite piece.

 

 

Like looking into the cosmos, an opal displays dazzling arrays of colour and pattern that make it like no other gemstone.

Australia is the largest producer of high quality opal with 97% of the world’s supply coming from areas like Coober Pedy (white opal) and Lightning Ridge (black opal), where Melanie has often travelled to meet directly with miners and cutters, sourcing unique stones for her designs.

"Lightning Ridge black opal is one of my favourite gems due to the incredible colour play and quality of the stone; it’s amongst the most sought after opal in the world. I am proud to champion local and ethically mined gems produced in this ancient land as I firmly believe in supporting local industry.

It is believed that opal formation began during the early Cretaceous period when dinosaurs walked the earth, over 100 million years ago. I am fascinated by this long geological history and the potential to uncover these natural treasures and present them to a modern audience."

Yet why is the opal so maligned?

At various times in history, the opal has been connected to misfortune. Opals were very rare until the 19th century and it is thought that when high quality opal was first discovered in Australia during the late 19th century, jealous diamond merchants and dealers spread word of opals bringing bad luck as they were threatened by the loss of trade.

Since then, opal has shaken off much of this unfair reputation and become a popular gem once more. This chameleon gemstone changes as you move; the unique way it can show all the colours of the rainbow makes it unlike any other gem!

If you'd like to learn more about the history of opals and how to care for them, head to our Gem School page. If you've already fallen for this enchanting gem, shop our Opal Element collection to discover your next favourite piece.