Desert Wonders

They’re a soul full of colours, but did you know these facts about Australia’s national gemstone?

Opals - Desert Wonders
Jewellery // Giulians       Image // Tandy RowleyPhotography

Major Opal fields are located in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, accounting for up to 95% of all precious Opal in the world.

The Governor-General, the Hon Bill Hayden AC, proclaimed the Opal as Australia’s national gemstone on 27 July 1993.

Coober Pedy, also known as the Opal Capital of the world, is an aboriginal name meaning ‘a man in a hole’ which is literally true as all the miners’ homes are underground excavations in the hillside.

Opal is a complex stone to evaluate and this task falls mainly in the hands of experts with years of experience. There are many more facets to an Opal than the 4C’s used to grade a diamond.

The credit for the first, but unrecorded, discovery of Opal in the Australian continent is generally considered to belong to Mingaye, a German geologist, who in 1849 found Opal near Angaston in South Australia.

Opal is the official birthstone of October.

The limited occurrence of natural gem Opal is due to the specialised combination of geological climatic and biological phenomena necessary for its formation.

On May 7 2008, Black Opal was declared the State gemstone and the new emblem of New South Wales.

Throughout history, Opal has been regarded as the stone of good fortune. The Romans call Opal ‘Cupid Paederos,’ which translates to a child as beautiful as love. It is worn as a symbol of hope, purity and love. It was also believed to cure one from diseases.

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