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Do you like Black Opal?

I’m Aussie and I recently went on an exhibition to Lightning Ridge to scout around and also visit Family. Do you guys like black opal (or indeed any opal)? I have some very nice specimens but other than the ones I own (I love them for sentimental reasons) I don’t like opal all that much. The super expensive stuff is gorgeous but I loathe all the low-grade opal I see EVERWHERE, especially in all the Aussie tourist traps. Horrid stuff, an offence to the opal name and to the gem/jewellery trade. But that’s probably just me.

As a side note, opal mining seems to be one of the most unrewarding aspects of the gem trade. Very rare to get a good seam and so much hard work. It’s like hell there, very hot and dusty. On the way home we stopped off in the New England area which has one of the most mineral rich belts in the world. You literally get out of the car and fill your pockets with agate and petrified wood, and if you want sapphires/garnet/diamonds/beryl/zircon etc you grab a sieve and get panning. SOOO easy, it takes longer to get larger pieces but you’re in a cooler climate and your chances of finding nice material is so much higher (you’re guaranteed to get gemmy material of some sort).

(Also, if you’re interested in NATURAL opal/opal jewellery I have some contacts I can give you. March has the New England gem festival so I hope to grab some good contacts for sapphires then too).

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You are going to be hard pressed to find anyone on here that will say no!

Every coloured stone dealer loves fine quality black opal, they may not UNDERSTAND opal, they may not buy or sell opal, but they love it, I promise!

The best market for opal is in Australia, margins may be thinner for you than other gems, but you should be able to make up for it with quantity if you are willing to hustle.



Well that’s good!!

Aussies seem split, half of them hate it/are indifferent and the other half love it. I think it’s due to the constant exposure to low-grade material. I don’t mean just low-grade, I mean LOW grade. They cut slightly sparkly poch up into jagged bits and glue them onto a black background without completely covering the black. :laughing: Also the generic jewellery settings are a big yawn. When I went to an opal museum with an attached shop I loved what I saw (obviously it was too expensive (for me)!! $15,000 on a pendant anyone?), beautiful pieces set in jewellery which complimented the natural shape and beauty of the stone, rather than trying to cut it into a generic shape and jam it into a bezel set ring

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A young man contacted me from Taiwan who wants to start in the gem business. He said that most people there are ignorant of gems, so he wasn’t sure if he could have a business.

My reply was that 95% of people in Canada are also ignorant of gems, but those aren’t our customers. Most people who are ignorant of gems can’t afford gems, so it doesn’t matter.

Our job is to find the people who have money they want to spend on luxury items, and explain why OUR luxury items are superior to leather goods or scarves etc (both of which I personally also love!)

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Yes, I like Black opal and Lightning Ridge, especially no traffic lights. I haven’t been up there for 3 years and will head up there this July.

A mate of mine fossicks in Queensland and has some really nice boulder and besides it being very messy to cut, I really like boulder.

Your comment regarding agate in the New England area has me interested. I will investigate and look around while I am in the New England, thank you, Bella.

I love black too but may I ask if any certificate available for opal which to be recognised internationally?

Hi there, I have a large selection of opals including; Black, Semi-Black, White, Mexican Fire, Australian, Ethiopian, Hondurian and Boulder.

Fake opal is pretty easy to recognise. Generally you can smell a rat if it’s too cheap, but the patterns and seams of colour on a fake opal are too uniform, on a real opal they’re more random.