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950 carats of seam opal goodness!

Big, bold and a little unassuming — one thing is for certain, we’re going to need to bring out the heavy grit wheel to work on this monster gem.Weighing in at a colossal 950 carats, we’ll need to clear the schedule to work on this piece of rough opal. Tips & Tricks Unearthed in the Grawin Feild in Lighntning Ridge, otherwise known as ‘seam opal country’, pieces like this one can be rare due to the size the cavity must be to create it.Slides, fissures and cracks underground caused by movements in the earth for over hundreds of milliions of years create these cavities which fill up with silica spheres…

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Weird and Wonderful Ways to use Opal

There are some amazing stories out there and it seems the opal world has more than it’s fair share. The most jaw dropping (pardon the pun) is the story of Harold Hodges and his false teeth. Harold Hodges was a colorful character who, in the late 1950’s came to Lightning Ridge and opened the first motel, the Tram-O-Tel which is still popular. Jurgen Thomas, Justin’s father, remembers him as a tough man and even tougher opal buyer. There are many stories about his antics as he was also the local bookmaker and slaughterhouse owner. Harold would have a footnote in history like many of the men in the Ridge at…

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Lightning Ridge Opal Mines

Lightning Ridge has many different opal fields or mines in and around it. The opal from each mine and area can differ from black opal to white opal and even grey opal. The opal mines in Lightning Ridge, like the 3 Mile Flat, have produced some of the most beautiful black and crystal opal gemstones the world has ever seen. Opal, in general around the ridge, is of gem quality when it is found, but finding it is a different story. Many people have tried to find opal and failed over and over again. Only a few select people have made it big, and I mean really made it. By…

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