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The world’s rarest opal: Part 1

Its birthplace

Mt Warning, Wollombin - the Cloud Catcher.
Mt Warning – named by Captain Cook to warn future mariners of the treacherous coastline around it.

Indigenous songlines run through Wollumbin, (the “Cloud Catcher”) which are the remains of an ancient volcano. This towering peak, also called Mt Warning, has created a unique geology. Layers of volcanic ash were laid down in the miocene and subsequently weathered to create one of the richest and lushest regions of Australia with a magical and indefinable quality.  Byron Bay sits on its coast and as the most eastern point, the sun touches Australia here first. This supercharged land is important geologically as well as the home to the rarest piece of opal in the world.


The volcanic opal from Tintenbar

The volcanic region of eastern Australia created the most unusual of all Australian opals. Tintenbar crystal is volcanic and ethereal. The opal fire is soft and gem edges are water worn, indicating an alluvial nature. The pieces found are usually small under 10 carats. They are collectors oddities for the most part.

By contrast “The Eternal Flame” is so named for the fire which burns bright within.  A large piece of black crystal opal it rivals the best of any found on the fields of Lightning Ridge. Stored dry in a vault, forgotten for over 40 years, the opal remains in pristine condition with no water wear. Opal experts including us have never seen anything like it and could not conceive of such an opal existing.


The Eternal Flame – The World’s Rarest Opal

A mammoth 568 carats “The Eternal Flame” is the largest and most significant black crystal ever found. What makes it even rarer is its origin. The volcanic soils of coastal New South Wales, Australia are replete with bands of obsidian and quartz but only small finds of volcanic opal – nothing like the great inland fields of Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy and Queensland.

Full of fire and wonder it glows like a prehistoric magic flame and harks back to a time when the earth was undergoing massive geological upheaval. The colour is unflinching and majestic, daring you to find an inferior angle. It holds a power that is bewitching. How could something as beautiful as this be created?

Eternal flame world's rarest opal

What do you think?



  • Debbie Garvey

    What a beautiful specimen! What is its dimensions?

    • The dimensions will be in the video on Friday Debbie!

  • John Sims

    Can only say … incredible! The biggest decision would have to be which parts of it to sacrifice if you ever wanted to cut it. Well worth a video of it?

    • A video is coming John – look in your inbox on Friday morning 🙂

      • John Sims


    • Blackopaldirect

      This one won’t be cut ever. Hehe its too large and rare to cut

      • John Sims

        Fair enough. You’d have to keep a good lookout for a millionaire or an Indian maharajah …

  • Ally Kingdon

    Absolutely stunning!! Thank you for sharing, can’t wait to see video x

    • Blackopaldirect

      The video is just as special. Thanks for the comment Ally

  • steve loika

    Thanks for sharing this. Can’t wait to see more. At 563 carats it must be a wonder to hold in your hand. Looking forward to the video.

    • Blackopaldirect

      Hi Steve Yes when it was first placed in my hand it made me say a word I don’t usually say out aloud

  • Chris Perryman

    It does not look as if it is from this world. Surely never to be cut ?

    • Blackopaldirect

      No it never will be cut as it is just soo rare being the largest gem to date from the region

  • WTB

    Jason, do you have any Gear from this region Mate

    • Blackopaldirect

      No Jason sorry it has be closed to mining for quite a few years now and doesn’t look like it will be accessible again. We don’t even know if there is any left in the ground.

  • Thierry

    it’s already flabbergasting as a picture, I’m.. pretty jealous that you kept it in your hands, hahaha. can’t wait for the video!

    • Blackopaldirect

      Yes the gem is one like no other I have ever held

  • Mikaila Higgins

    Oh my…. that is truly breathtaking.

    • Blackopaldirect

      Thank you it is and I think The Eternal Flame is a perfect name

      • Mikaila Higgins

        Couldn’t agree more. I feel very envious, but also I couldn’t be happier for you. Thanks for sharing. I will be eagerly awaiting that video.

  • Patrick Morin

    Holy moly! Justin this is amazing what a great find !

    • Blackopaldirect

      Thank you Patrick

  • Dakota Don

    Justin, what are the dimensions of the stone?

    • Blackopaldirect

      HI Dakota the dimensions will be in the email on Friday but lets say at 563 carats it is huge

  • Rog RS

    Mind blowing, need I say more

  • Ridgey

    In a dry safe for 40 years?… Speaks well for the stability of this individual piece… Ridgey

    • Blackopaldirect

      yes in a dry safe for 40 years. Amazing piece buddy

  • krakit

    Wicked beautiful… omg Justin, I have held some huge black crystal welos that are stunning at over 300cts but to have an Aussie crystal that size and of such beauty is once in a life time!! Good on you mate. Who is the owner?

    • Blackopaldirect

      The owner will be revealed soon. Yes the color play is so bright it matches a lot of Lightning Ridge black opal

  • Ridgey

    There is still a little pocket that is being mined, some floaters….Nothing like this piece though….. Ridgey

    • Blackopaldirect

      Can you tell us more about what is being mined at the moment. Ridgey? The spot where this stone was mined is no access anymore.

  • Dorota Porada Gaukstad

    Speechless…. humble in the face of this Beauty of Nature…

  • Shaman Dogbert

    Oh my………Unbelieveable ! Gorgeous !

  • Soren Cicchini

    I love being able to see the conchoidal fractures, and how naturally clean and clear it is. I’d be tempted to give it to a master knapper with nerves of steel to make the world’s finest knife blade.

  • Harley Howland

    F A N T A S T I C ! We are all holding our breath until Friday.

    • Blackopaldirect

      Haha it will be worth it Harley

  • M H T

    Hi Justin, Thanks for sharing.

  • wanda ll

    Oh my gosh it is beautiful beyond words.

  • Anthony John Blignaut

    Thank you for sharing, wonder who has the other half?

    • Blackopaldirect

      haha mother nature has the other half

  • Wow…has it been worked like in flint knapping? That is an amazing piece!

    • Blackopaldirect

      No David it is totally natural as it came out of the ground

      • That is beyond amazing. I hope it never gets cut. Thanks for the info.

  • Terry Lambert

    Is this similar to Ethiopian opal?

    • Blackopaldirect

      It is of similar structure bur from Australia

    • M H T

      Yes Terry You are right. It is very similar in looks as an Ethiopian Wella opals. It could be one of them, I feel. It does not have any Australian black opal looks and characteristics.

  • Lars Francke

    Oh my … I lift my hat and bow and bow deeper and deeper.
    And when I saw that it weights 568 ct … ( starting to breath deeper and deeper )
    I read that you will post a video soon … can’t really wait.
    Thanks for THE opal share of the year, no decade, no, century <3

  • Raven Butler

    Oh my word!!! I have NEVER seen anything so beautiful!!! I am at a loss for words!!!

    • Blackopaldirect

      Thanks Raven This is truly the single most amazing find I have seen in my life time. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Linda Kida

    Wow!! Absolutely stunning piece!! Thank you so much for sharing xx