Why Are Most Opals Found in Australia?

In Opals
15 Sep 2021 | No Comments

Opals are not only gorgeous to own and to wear, they’re also Australia’s official national gemstone, and for good reason. Australia’s opals boast both brilliant quantity and quality in these unique, fine, and exquisite gemstones. While they may be found around the world, 95% of the world’s opals are found in Australia, making the country the leading nation in opal production.

The most expensive opal ever found was also found in Australia. The Virgin Rainbow is worth over $1 million and was discovered in 2003 by miner John Dunst in Coober Pedy of southern Australia. Considered the most beautiful opal in the world, this gemstone glows in the dark, and the darker the room is, the more color comes out of it. It is owned by and displayed in the South Australian Museum in Adelaide.

Why is Australia so lucky as to get these beautiful gemstones? Much of it has to do with how is opal formed. Opals are a mixture of silica and water or some sort of silica gel. These silica spheres are what give opals their marvelous colors. Because of Australia’s strong climate and location, as well as the country’s history of its location, it’s the prime location for opal creation.

When you buy an opal in its final polished state, that opal has quite literally been millions of years in the making. Scientists believe opals date as far back as the age of the dinosaurs, around 70 to 200 million years ago. At that time, much of what was Australia was covered by an inland body of water. The marine sand was rich in silica and the remains of plants and animals accumulated in the sand. These bones and remnants eventually transformed into silica gel which mixed into the water.

This mixture then seeped down through natural faults in the earth and the thick layers of sandstone in the area. The voids and fissures beneath the earth’s surface, which is believed to be formed from the remains of prehistoric land and sea creatures, is where the water pools. As the water was absorbed back into the clay, the coloured silica hardened over millions of years and resulted in the precious Australian opal gemstones that the country is known for.

Australia’s opals are predominantly fossil and mineral in origin whereas opals found outside of Australia have mostly volcanic base. This makes Australia’s opals much harder than opals from other parts of the world. The most famous opal locations in Australia are Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy, Andamooka, White Cliffs, and Cunnamulla districts in Queensland.

Not only are Australia’s opals harder and home to different types of opals from different locations, they’re also stunning, gorgeous, and alluring. Who can resist the rainbow colors of an opal? One look at the gemstone and you’re in a trance. These gemstones make for the perfect jewellery pieces and Volle Jewelry is one of the top-tier opal shops in Sydney, selling everything from opal pendant necklaces to opal earrings to opal rings. These are some of the best jewellery pieces you can own and their high quality and cut and polished designs make them well worth investing in. Call 02 9269 0898 or visit online or the physical stores in Sydney and QVB.

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