Come and have a look at how we mine for opal in Lightning Ridge.
Driving down the bumpy road, a dry and arid landscape surrounds you. But, when you get to Lightning Ridge, the opal fever takes hold. Signs plaster walls everywhere, and big pictures of opal are around every corner. Even the streets are named after opal!
In this video, I’ll take you for a virtual tour around Lightning Ridge, showing you the most popular and exciting things to do in this gorgeous small mining town.
First up, we have the mullock heaps that are popular with tourists. You can search for opal that the miners might have missed; just bring a shovel and a water bottle. You can also go and look at the huge open cut mine – one of the only around!
After that, I’ll show you what’s it’s like to go mining with my friends Fred and Brian. We’ll go down a mine and show you how to find that glorious color, then head to the agitator to wash away the dirt and (hopefully) find some great opal.
We’ll check in with my other mining friend Moe to buy some opal, and then I’ll show you how I cut it. All before we go and wash the day off in the hot artesian bore baths.
I hope you enjoy the adventure!
17 thoughts on “Opal Mining Video”
Hi thankyou i have just watched your video on how to cut opal, while i am very confident in cuting of opal I was very impressed on your presentation on this video,so you can a bit of info on me I am the president of the Waverley Gem Club here in victoria .and i show and stress the same principals as you do. I would be very interested if you sell the video so that we can keep in our file at the club.Our members travel to the opal fields and come back with samples and then wish to know what to do,and because many lapidary people have thier ideas it would be nice to have a copy of how to think it should be done also it backs my ideas .we have some that come back and have little colour and put it on 80 grit wheels a very big no no also you have explained how to touch the opal very softly ,any way as i said a very nice video and well put together Once again thanking you Garry Shaw
Thank you for the nicest comments. I am in the process of making the whole DVD to be for sale. Once I am done I will let you know.
In the meantime You can easily send the link from youtube or my website address page. An 80 grit wheel is for opal potch only or house bricks 🙂 Regards Justin
I love your website – honest detailed information about your opals from underground to the market.
I am in Moscow at present and met a few people who are into crystals/stones and they are really mad for black opals. Unfortunately they do get duped by some sellers. I am going to flick your website to some of the people.
Good luck for your venture.
Thanks for the kind words! Happy to help out your friends in Moscow as I love spreading the word about black opal!
Thanks for sharing your passion and expertise in these wonderful videos you have produced.
A neighbour recently introduced me to opals and I have begun to take a keen interest in the industry. Thinking in terms of a hobby or part time business, could you recommend a good starting point for developing the skills required to obtain, cut and polish opals without spending a fortune!
HI Steve Thanks for the really kind words. I am glad you like what I do enough for your neighbor to recommend me 🙂 Regards Justin
Thank you for your latest video on The Ridge and opal mining it brings back a lot of memories of the early days out there , I would like to see the DVD your are making , congratulations on the way you sell your stones up to date and foolproof good luck to you regards
Hi Ray Thanks for the great feedback I am working on the DVD and I hope you are continuing your opal career?
Just wanted to send you a shout all the way from the United States. I just turned 23, and have previously decided that I am going to try my luck in the jewelry business. I’d just like to let you know I’ve made a decision that a Lightning Ridge black opal is going to be my first gemstone I purchase, and honestly, I WILL be buying it from blackopaldirect.com. Id love to custom design one of your black opals into a pendant for her as a wedding gift. Yours just seem to have a wider variety of colors and I love all of the details and videos y’all upload.
Thank y’all so much
HI Daniel Thanks for choosing me as your first venture into gemstones. I must say if you do get into the world of gems you wont look back most people who are in gems have the best life. Being able to work with the worlds treasures is a bit more fulfilling than most jobs. Lightning Ridge opal is of the best in the world and the colors don’t get better anywhere. This is why I am so passionate about opal from Lightning Ridge. It sounds like a great idea to make a wedding gift that will stay close to home and you can advertise with the piece. I have people around the world that buy from me and on sell and make a good living. I look forward to your choice of opal and if you need help choosing let me know regards Justin. 🙂
Well, honestly, I’ve been showing my fiance most of the opals that are in my price range, and she really loves the opals with the deep blue and green coloration. I’m looking for one about a carat, so I can hang about a .75 carat black diamond right above the opal on the pendant. Does it take away from the brightness if the opal is being held from the back? I know that might be a dumb question, but I’ve just never even dealt with black opals before, and I also just want the image in my head to come out as perfect as I envision it for her.
Setting a black opal from the back does not change the way the opal shows off its colors it actually makes it better. 🙂
And black diamonds will go perfectly with a black opal. As the color will really show up well.
If you need any more help please let me know?
Thanks for this lovely video, I really enjoyed it. I will someday come to Lightning Ridge and see you specially and the mines practically. The best part of this video I enjoyed was when the rough was washed in the cement mixer and it was ready to collect the washed shiny opals and also the cutting and polishing of the rough, Ah haa the deal of buying roughs too was one of the best part.
Thanks & Regards
Hi MHT I am glad you like the video. It does give you a good idea on how the opal world works 🙂
great snap shot of the ridge well done mate cheers
HI Scott Thanks for the kind words 🙂
Opal fossicking holidays with a regular guide to keep us on the straight and narrow , now that would be great