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Wood Fossil Opals

One unique particular type of opal that is always well sort after in the gemstone market, particularly by collectors is Wood Fossil opal. The wood and vegetation formed inside of precious opal can look strikingly beautiful, and always unique.

How are Wood Fossil Opals formed?

Although more rarer than not, sometimes you can find opals with wood in them. This wood is collected in catchments where the opal has formed around it; fossilizing the wood inside of the opal which is why these types of opals are known as Wood Fossil Opal. It is more common to find fossiled wood in boulder opal than any other type of opal. That is because a lot of the boulder opal mining territories include creeks and river beds where catchments have caught wood, tree trunks, sticks, and vegetation such as grass and leaves. Wood fossil opals have been found in other mining regions however such as Lightning Ridge and Coober Pedy. These are more often than not usually tree roots that were underground in the pockets where the silica has seeped into that has formed precious opal. Sometimes miners can get lucky in their discoveries and find large pockets where vegetation and wood has collected, and by chance opal has formed amongst it as pictured below.

How are Wood Fossil Opals formed?
A pocket where vegetation was found with opal formation around it in a Boulder mine in Winton.

This particular type of opal formation is known as ‘Forrest Floor’ as this area was a catchment area (maybe a tree trunk or corner pocket in a creek) that caught a lot of vegetation such as sticks and leaves. Opal then formed around this in this particular pocket. This is a rare occurrence to have both of these instances of vegetation catchment and opal formation happen in the same place.

Wood Fossil Boulder Opals

As previously stated, the most common type of opal found with wood or vegetation inside of them is Boulder Opals. It is very rare to come across in Lightning Ridge opals; so much so that we do not even have any available for sale. We have only ever had 2 Wood Fossil opals from Lightning Ridge available for sale, both of which have sold.

There have been large deposits of Wood Fossil and Vegetation Fossil opals discovered in all of the Boulder Opal mining regions of Queensland. These include Yowah, Koroit, Eromangah, Quilpie and most famously Winton. All are unique and sometimes easily distinguishable to someone familiar with opals in the industry.

‘Forrest Floor’ Wood Fossil Boulder Opal
An example of ‘Forrest Floor’ Wood Fossil Boulder Opal as shown in the mining image above. The black lines you can see inside the opal is fossilised vegetation (may be some grass or broken apart wood/tree roots)

Wood Fossil Boulder Opal is like any other Boulder Opal in that they can hold an array of colours. Most often blue or purple will be present in these opals as this is the most common and first colour formation that occurs in opals. If you are lucky to find some however, you can discover high brightness opals with wood or vegetation formations inside of them such as below. Sometimes if you are lucky enough you may even find some rainbow opal formed around wood.

More often then not there is still the presence of ironstone in these boulder opals. This also makes them ideal for use as pendants in either in high end jewelry settings with use of precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum, or in alternative pendant designs with simple adjustable rope or leather necklace. You can shop our range of Wood Fossil Boulder Opal Pendants here: https://opalgalaxy.com/wood-fossil-boulder-opal-pendant/

Gorgeous Wood Fossil pieces
These are some Gorgeous Wood Fossil pieces from Koroit that were discovered around 2016

Available Wood Fossil Opals

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