Opal is one of the most treasured of all gemstones. With unique play of colour and stunning good looks, it is hard to find a gem collector who doesn’t list it among their favourites. Australia is famed for its Opals, but more recently, an Opal discovery in Ethiopia has brought the market some new Opal varieties. Australian Opals mostly have small patches of colour, known as ‘pin fire’, whereas Ethiopians more often have overall ‘flash’ play of colour. Some Opals have an obvious body colour – we have been able to bring you Blue and Pink Opals from Peru in the past. But for the first time ever, we can bring you something which combines the best qualities of these famed sources.
Gemporia CEO Steve Bennett is very fortunate to be able to say that he has visited the Ethiopian Opal mines. During his visit in 2016, he met a local miner called Rooney, who made quite an impression on him. Being the only local with a colour TV, Rooney spent a lot of time watching football and has come to be called by his hero’s name. To thank Steve for visiting and sharing the story of their mines, Rooney gave Steve an unusual and exceptionally stunning Blue Opal.
This Opal was not only unusual due to its beauty. It was unusual in that it was a Blue Opal from Ethiopia which hadn’t been dyed. This is unusual enough in itself, but it also displayed extraordinary pin fire, which is something much more likely to be seen in Australian Opal specimens. Steve fell in love with the stone and gave it pride of place in our museum collection. Steve assumed that this was where the story would end, and for many weeks, nothing more was expected to happen, but he would show his rough Ethiopian Blue Opal off to visitors as his latest exciting find.
Several weeks later, Steve received an email from Rooney with unbelievable news. Rooney explained that he had discovered a deposit with similar characteristics as the original stone on the banks of Lake Tana, one of the tributaries of the Nile. Astonishingly, the rough he had uncovered had even more intense colour play than the prized stone he had given Steve. We had never been able to offer any coloured Opals with intense pin fire colour play before, making this an incredibly exciting discovery.
Their colour is natural and is reminiscent of a softly blue Aquamarine or Larimar, but with mesmerising and unique colour play across their surface. Rooney has been able to secure us the entire parcel, which has been a mix of shapes and sizes which we’ve reconnected to bring you the very best of their play of colour on an unimaginably grand scale.