About Opals, Boulder Opal

Pipe Crystal Boulder Opal

Pipe Crystal Blog Pic

Pipe Crystal Boulder Opal is a unique type of boulder opal that is sandstone based, apposed to the regular, more well known ironstone based boulder opal. Sandstone is more fragile, brittle and lighter in comparison to the ironstone. The precious opal itself is lighter in colour and is crystalised, apposed to boulder opal which is not. Crystal opal is transparent, meaning that if there is no sandstone backing on the precious opal, that you could see light filtering all the way through. If you shine a light behind the crystal you should see a difference in the colour and pattern change. Compare that to ironstone boulder opal and you will not see any difference should there be light shining on one side of the opal; it is a non-transparent type of opal.


Pipe Crystal Boulder Opal has been found in a few regions of Queensland, however 99% of its discovery has been made in the region of Winton, in Northern Queensland. 95% of mines in Winton are Open-Pit, meaning that the rock, when mined, is brought to the surface and then sorted through. Winton is a very famous town for boulder opals. It is to date the biggest discovery of Boulder Opal. Some very beautiful boulder opals have been discovered in Winton, which include nice bright blues, deep ocean blues and multi coloured pieces that are sought after by collectors around the world.


Pipe Crystal is both a fashionable and high demand type of opal within the youth market of jewellery today, in the year 2019. They are cut and polished into wearable size pieces to suit necklaces, rings and earrings. Pipe Crystal is of very high demand in the world, and at present in very low supply. The opal fluctuates with discoveries; some years the mines can discover good size pockets of pipe crystal, while other years not much has been discovered at all. In a some of the mining areas of pipe crystal, miners have discovered crystallised dinosaur fossils, tree roots, wood fossils and other miscellaneous objects.


Pipe Crystal gets it name because it is formed in pipe pockets in the Earth. Imagine an ants nest that has different cavities and larger pockets in the ground; this is the same ideology as where pipe crystal is found. Miners break off chunks of large rock with flecks of crystal in it and sell these chunks to cutters who then break them apart and cut them into sizeable pieces for polishing. Another popular item amongst buyers with pipe crystal is the pipe crystal shards; raw pieces of offcuts of pipe crystal that have been put into jars for either souvenirs, making into raw jewellery or for polishing and using in smaller pieces of jewellery.


Opal Galaxy are one of very few suppliers of rough pipe crystal boulder opal. We sell to many gem polishers around the world who polish and onsell to jewellers and end users. They have a solid connection and relations to people in the Winton mining industry.