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Lightning Ridge Opals

Lightning Ridge: The Black Opal Capital of the World

Lightning Ridge is a town located in the central northern area of New South Wales in Australia. The town is very close to the Queensland border. Lightning Ridge earns its reputation for housing the world’s best and most expensive opals, earning it the title of the black opal capital of the world. The town’s name stems from explorers discovering a farmer and his flock of sheep struck by lightning. Electrical storms are prevalent in the region and the Australian Outback. Lightning Ridge is also a renowned archaeological site for opalized dinosaur bones.

Unveiling the Geological Wonders of Lightning Ridge

The primary type of opal found in Lightning Ridge is black opal. The local Aborigines call it the fire of the desert. However, one should distinguish this from Mexican fire or treated opals. Lightning Ridge opals are all 100% natural and untreated. Some crystal, grey, dark, and white opals have also been discovered in the town’s region. These gems should not be overlooked as secondary opals from Lightning Ridge, as they are also remarkable.

Compared to other opals, black opal is the most valuable type. This is because of the dark body tone, rich, vibrant color play, and pattern in the opals. Black Opal has been recorded selling at very high prices of up to $20,000 a carat. This opal must have been an extraordinary one! However, just because an opal is black does not mean that it is automatically valuable; it comes down to the rarity of the pattern and colors, size and weight in the opal itself, and often what people are willing to pay for it. It is fortunate for miners to find red colors within the opals they discover. The more red patterns they find usually means, the more it is worth.

The Significance of Black Opals in Lightning Ridge

The mine sites in Lightning Ridge extend up to 1.5km deep, posing intense danger and heat for workers. Consequently, mining primarily occurs during the winter months when rain aids in revealing opal colors in the dirt. With over 200 mine sites in the region, sourcing black opal proves challenging yet rewarding. Black Opals rank among Earth’s rarest gemstones, surpassing the rarity of diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Access to most mine sites is restricted to outsiders, with deals typically negotiated among residents. Government oversight regulates the town’s vegetation and mining activities, carefully monitoring opal extraction volumes.

Available Lightning Ridge Opals

Mixed Lightning Ridge Opal Parcel 3.04 ctw

Original price was: USD $1,080.Current price is: USD $864.

Lightning Ridge Crystal Opal 1.08 ct

Original price was: USD $550.Current price is: USD $440.
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