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Going Underground (Opal Mining in Lightning Ridge)

At first glance, Lightning Ridge is a charming small town situated on a vast and flat expanse of red dirt and native trees. What you won’t get at first glance is the hidden world that Lightning Ridge is renowned for; the birthplace of the beautiful black opal. What excitement lies beneath Lightning Ridge’s friendly smiles and quaint homes? For that, we’re going underground. The unique lifestyle of Lightning Ridge isn’t for the fainthearted; locals live and breathe the elusive search for opal color. In this video, come along as we explore a mining claim and learn all about mining opal. Let’s go mining in Lightning Ridge! Justin introduces us to…

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Three unique features of nobby rough opal from Lightning Ridge

I’ve been cutting some new nobby rough opal from Lightning Ridge.  I thought it be good to share some of the unique features of these type of formations. I’ve selected an example to work on in the image below. The one thing that many (but not all) of these nobbies have in common is a potch base and a white cap on top. We see this a lot in rich deposits of opal. Some of the main opal fields including places like Jag Hill, Wyoming, and much of the Coocoran opal fields all have this in common.   The Nobby   You can see from the bottom up of this…

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Mining the Rainbow Serpent Opal

The blower pipe which attaches to the hopper.

The video explains the process of mining the Rainbow Serpent opal and takes you underground to where it was found.  We show you what it had to endure to become the beautiful polished piece that it is. The gem was found in a “blow” amongst ironstone boulders. These were either pushed up from below and sunk from above. It is said that when you find ironstone mixed up with the sandstone and clay, then there is a high possibility of opal to be found. Once the opal had been extracted out of the ground via the blower (which we’ve taught you is really a “sucker” – a giant vacuum cleaner). It…

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