opal information

The word `Opal´ first appeared in the ancient Sanskrit language as `Upala´ which means `precious stone´. Already back then, Opal resembled the Goddess and Queen of all Gems. Only She was wearing all the precious Colors at the same time.

Opal is found all over the Planet and comes in many shapes and kinds. Qualities range from the simple colorless Mineral up to high-end precious Gems. Apart from Australia, Opal is also found in Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ethiopia and the USA.

Opal as such is amorphous silica with some content of water in its structure. All spectral colors may be visible due to a diffusion of light in the various layers of arrangements of silica-spheres and gaps in between the molecules.

Worldwide 90% of all Gem-Quality Opal comes from the vast Outback of Central Australia, or the Great Artesian Basin. This huge area used to fill up with water at various times over Millions of years and therefore provided perfect conditions for the creation of Silica-Oxide / Opal. Almost all Australian Opal was formed in the Great Artesian Basin in Cretaceous Sediment.

Three main kinds of Opal are found in Australia:

The Light Opal from South Australia is the kind of Opal that most people associate with the word Opal. Coober Pedy is the Worlds largest Opal town and the biggest producer of White- or Milk Opal.

Black Opal

Black Opal is found in New South Wales, in the southwestern part of the Basin, with the area around Lightning Ridge as its main Origin. Due to the dark / black color of the mother-stone as the background, this Opal appears brighter and the colors are more intense.

Black Opal is regarded as the most precious of all Opals, if not all Gems.

Black Opal

Various kinds of Boulder-Opal are found all over Queensland. Here some Mother-rock (Boulder, Matrix) stays with the Gem-Opal to form part of the Gemstone or to protect and stabilize the Opal.
Black Opal

Boulder-Matrix Opal can contain any kind of Gem-Opal, like Crystal, White or Black Opal. In some Queensland Opal fields like Yowah and Koroit Boulder-Matrix Opal is found in the form and shape of Nuts. Opal-Nuts may carry a Center of deeply colored Gem-Opal, covered by several layers with veins, sparkle or pinfire of Opal through dark red ironstone combined with some vibrant tribal Matrix patterns.

The `Yowah-Nut´ became the most famous of them and is referred to as an International Designer-Gem. The Opal’s shape and composition of layers often remind us of Seeds or Nuts. However, to call them Nuts might be confusing since Yowah-Nuts are not fossilized or opalized nuts or parts of plants. There has never been a Yowah-Nut Tree! Nut-Opals are quite simply one of the greatest Gem-Mysteries of our Planet.


Of all the Gemstones in the World only Opal has this amazing variety and richness in Color. Combined with fantastic patterns and pictures of the Boulder-Matrix, Opal can reveal some of the most stunning Artwork that Nature ever has created.

To look deeply into a Nut-Opal is as mesmerizing as the Dreamtime would have been …

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