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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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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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The Secrets of Opal Prospecting

Justin heads out to Lightning Ridge to talk about how to find opal. After drilling in excess of 3000 holes in the pursuit of opal, Sebastian, our expert miner, knows a thing or two. Opal prospecting requires tenacity, deep pockets and a lot of luck. Sebastian has drilled thousands of holes and has had to maintain a steely resolve especially when nothing was found. It takes a special person to stick at prospecting and methodically going over ground, hoping to find that colorful patch. Luckily for Sebastian some of those holes have paid off over the years and he has found some magnificent opal. Today he shares his knowledge with us. We are…

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