Opal Mining

Opal mining – All Opals are unique. They are a one and only gemstone. From one opal to the next; you will never find another identical to each other. There are many different types of opals though that come from different regions in Australia, and the World that you can differentiate between. Some of the more famous mine sites in Australia include Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy, Winton, Koroit, Yowah and Mintabie. Opals have also been discovered in Ethiopia (Welo Opal), Mexico (Fire Opal) and other parts of the world too. Nothing compares however to Australian Opal; it is by far the most prized and sought after opal in the world!

Different Opals for different Jewelry

Different opal mining sites offer different colors, patterns and unique attributes. They are often used by different jewelers for different pieces of jewelry. Some examples of this include:

Coober Pedy

Located in central South Australia, Coober Pedy is renowned for its Crystal Opal, often cut and polished into stunning pieces ideal for various types of jewelry. This type of opal is highly sought after worldwide due to its high demand. Crystal Opal boasts multiple color variations and patterns, each uniquely stunning. Coober Pedy is a significant source of White Opal, a non-transparent Crystal Opal valued for its thick patterns and colors, making it a preferred choice for high-end jewelry.

Lightning Ridge

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Although Crystal Opal is also present in New South Wales, Australia, Lightning Ridge is a significant opal mining site renowned for its black opal. Black opal from Lightning Ridge is prized for its unique, colorful patterns, making it the world’s most expensive opal. Crystal Opal from the same region is also valuable and often used in high-end jewelry. Compared to Coober Pedy Crystal Opal, Lightning Ridge Crystal Opal commands higher value due to its distinct color variations, patterns, and rarity.

Queensland Opal

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Queensland’s mine sites are renowned for boulder opal, prized for its earthy appearance, which makes it a popular choice for pendant making. Locations such as Koroit, Winton, and Yowah yield boulder opal. Crystal Boulder Opal, a trending type in 2018, combines crystal and rock, favored by wire wrap jewelers and used in pendant necklaces, rings, and earrings.

Aside from these types of opals, there is also doublet opals. These are often used by jewelers as they are cheaper than buying full pieces. Doublets are a double layer of backing stuck on a thin shell top. The doublet will still look the same as a black opal when looking front on, however you can see it is stuck if you look at it from the side. Doublets make black opal more affordable for retail buyers and jewelers alike.

Princess rings often feature Ethiopian Opals as the central stunning display piece, surrounded by a floating diamond halo. Additionally, Ethiopian Opals are commonly used in earring and necklace designs.

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