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I have been a gemstone enthusiast since I was a young boy. My passion now are ETHIOPIAN OPALS!

Hi IGS and other gemstone enthusiasts,

My name is Bob Jones & I live just south of Birmingham, AL. At 65 years old my hobby has turned from just collecting to buying, trading and selling unique gems I have been collecting for many years now. When the Shewa Province mountainside was discovered in the 1990\’s I was watching JTV as they discussed it. I was fascinated with how the entire mining process began and then in 2008 \”Welo\” soon became a new source and name for Opals. Then in about 2013 the Stayish black opal mine began operation. I have read that it is possible for the Opal mines of Ethiopia may in fact surpass Australia as the worlds leading source of opal. What started in the early 90\’s is approaching only 30 years but some believe opals from this area may date back for hundreds or possibly thousands of years by some historical ideas that have been promoted.

I am a foundryman by family trade and never thought that chemistry, math and physics would come in so handy but they have. Even thermodynamics has helped me to understand the nature of geophysical events in this volcanic area. If you have read this far thank you. It is my contention that some opals are the most beautiful of all the gemstones due to their play of colors. When looking at an opal and seeing all the colors I believe these unique stones are like holding a rainbow in your hand!

Thanks for Your Time,
Bob Jones
Pelham, AL


I would like to ask you a question please.
Do you think the stone in this piece of jewellery is a Smoked Ethiopian Opal?

Thank you

Im from ethiopia , what about Ethiopian sunstone ?

Hi from just south of Birmingham, AL. They are beautiful and I have a small one in the rough I also picked up something called rainbow sunstone, a very small piece of rough that has colors in it. However I am not very familiar with either and have never seen a piece in person that has been cabbed or faceted. These are gorgeous. Are they expensive?

Thanks for showing me,
Bob Jones

Hi, Bob,

If you ever come to Houston let me know because I’d love to show you my collection of Ethiopian Welo Opals. I have about 300 or more that I bought from a gentleman from Thailand that got them while the cut stones were still being exported, about 2012. I believe he had a cutter there and bought the rough and they cut the opals themselves.

Anyway, hopefully we can we stay in touch? And my husband and I would love for you to come visit and see the opals. I could send photos via email if you contact me at I do better with emails than with forum messages which I forget to check.


Hello Bob:
It seems we have a lot in common.I to live in Al.,in Cullman.L am a little older 84.Maybe we can get together and discuss Gems and such.

I am sending a message from the International Opal Thieves of America…the membership thanks you for disclosing your names and the location of your very nice, extensive opal collections. They will be visiting you soon! LOL.

Hi royjohn,
It is still nice to hear from the dark side other than biden & pilosie.