Justin and Melinda sit down to chat about the opal stories of some of our stock.
You asked and we listened! In our last video on Justin’s Personal Opal Collection you asked us to go through the opals on our site and tell more stories of their origin.
Nine different opals, four different fields. Their opal stories brought to you by Justin, Melinda, and two cups of coffee.
Wyoming opal field, Lightning Ridge, New South Wales
Justin and Melinda lead with six opal stories from a field called Wyoming in Lightning Ridge.
As you drive in to Wyoming opal field you are greeted by a horse and cart from the western era that signifies the fields history. Justin explains the layout of the land and the signifiers miners use to uncover potential patches of opal.
The first opal is a small but mighty 0.60ct dark opal pillow with a bright red flash. This gem is unassuming at one angle and screaming at you from the next. Justin and Melinda chat about how a piece like this needs to be carefully orientated when setting in jewelry as the color of this opal is directional.
The next gem is a gorgeous black opal heart weighing 1.61ct that Justin has done an excellent job at shaping (if he does say so himself) with a paisley or floral pattern. This stone came from a nobby opal so Justin had to figure out which way to orient it so that the stone would stay dark and the potch was on the back.
Justin and Melinda move on to a pin fire patterned 4.74ct opal that would make a truly stunning masculine ring with its dark, galaxy-like appearance.
Opal number four is a 4.08ct gem crystal opal with breathtaking color and cats-eye, or rolling flash, pattern. The depth in this clear, crisp opal is something special and Justin and Melinda spend some time admiring this double sided gem.
After admiring the opal dubbed the All Seeing Eye, Justin and Melinda move on to another double sided gem that is equally as stunning. This opal is a 1.22ct black crystal opal that has a body tone that looks like a tinted window and more colors than we can list. Greens and blues, purples, and flecks of orange are just a few of the hues you can see in this vibrant gem.
The last opal from the Wyoming opal fields is a gem that turned out a lot better than Justin expected. Justin was surprised cutting this stone with the clean and vibrant green and blue colors of this 1.18ct black opal. Melinda and Justin swoon over the colors of nature while admiring this gem.
What tools can you use to look at opal if you’re, as Melinda likes to say, optically challenged?
Justin shows us two tools that he recommends anyone get if they’re going to look at or buy opal; a loop and a torch. Loops magnify the stone to easily see things like fractures, inclusions, impurities, and how well the opal has been polished. Torches (Americans, we mean a “flashlight”) can also help you look into a stone to see cracks or can tell you what kind of opal you’re holding.
Eight Mile Field, Lightning Ridge
Eight Mile Field is one of the richest opal fields in Lightning Ridge and has held opal patches that dreams are made of.
Justin shows a 4.60ct dark opal that he’s gotten from this field; a gorgeous green-blue gem with a broad flash pattern. Justin and Melinda chat about the different kinds of opals and how they can represent personalities or even moods. Are you unassuming but like to wow on certain angles? Or do you like to shine in every situation? There’s an opal for every person and every mood – all the reason to have more than one!
Andamooka, South Australia
The Andamooka opal field is far from Lightning Ridge but this opal represents the kind of gem that most people picture when thinking of opal.
The opal Justin has chosen to show is an 8.97ct white opal with pinks, blues, yellows, and more! White opal has a milky body tone and can be confused with crystal opal. The difference between white opal and crystal opal is that you can shine light through crystal opal and see silhouettes but cannot with white opal. You can use a torch (ahem, “flashlight”) to shine light through the gem; if you can’t see shapes through it that’s one way to tell it’s a white opal.
Allawah, Lightning Ridge
Lastly, an opal from Allawah opal field in Lightning Ridge near Wyoming opal field where our first six opals originated. This gem is a 2.45ct crystal opal that shows a stunning aqua blue that is quite rare in opal. Orange hues compliment the aqua to make a stone that looks at you from every angle. There are some sand inclusions and potch on the back of this gem although this proves the stone is natural.
We hope that you enjoy this video and find the stories of our stock interesting. If there’s anything you’d like us to talk about in our next video let us know!