Fine Opals from Mexico and Australia- a Photo Gallery

October 10th, 2009 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
Fabulous Opal Group

Fabulous Opal Group

We recently had the privilege to work with this wonderful group of gem opals in the 7 to 10 carat category.  The top row are opals from Mexico, including the orange red Fire Opal, and the others from Australia's famous Lightning Ridge and Coober Pedy fields.

6.70ct Mexican Fire Opal

1. 6.70 ct. Mexican Fire Opal

The term Fire Opal refers specifically to those Mexican opals that have an golden orange to red body color.  A Fire Opal may or may not have play of color– this one certainly does!

9.97 ct. 7.32 ct.

“Llovisnando” or “Lluvisnando” is a local term meaning Floating Light, a rare and sought after type of Mexican opal, mined primarily in the Magdalena and Quertaro districts of central Mexico.

6.23 ct Lightning Ridge Crystal, Front

4. 6.23 ct Lightning Ridge Crystal, Front

Lightning Ridge is one of the earliest opal fields to be developed in Australia, known since the late Victorian period for producing the finest black and crystal opals. This wonderful stone has dazzling play of color, top and bottom.

6.23 ct. Lightning Ridge Crystal, Back

4. 6.23 ct. Lightning Ridge Crystal, Back

7.03 ct. Lightning Ridge Crystal Opal

5. 7.09 ct. Lightning Ridge Crystal Opal

Gem 7.75 ct Lightning Ridge Crystal Opal

6. 7.75 ct. Lightning Ridge Crystal Opal

This great stone has angular patches of color and could be called a harlequin opal

Gem 7.75 ct. Lightning Ridge Crystal, Rotated 90 degrees

6. 7.75 ct. Lightning Ridge Crystal, Rotated 90 degrees

6.88 ct. Coober Pedy Crystal Opal

7. 6.77 ct. Coober Pedy Crystal Opal

Coober Pedy is another classic Australian source, located in the outback on the edge of an ancient seabed–so hot the miners build their homes in underground tunnels! #7 &8 show the most common play of color pattern we see in Australian opal, sometime refered to as chaff or pinfire.

6.88 ct. Coober Pedy Crystal

8. 6.88 ct. Coober Pedy Crystal

Have you guessed about values?  Hint– the total value of the group is over $200,000 at retail. Which is the most valuable? Send us an email with your guesses- jim@mardonjewelers.com

At Mardon, we specialize in finding rare and unusual treasures of nature for you. This writer had the privilege to work at the GIA Gem Trade Lab, where he met many top level gemologists and gem traders. Over our 30 years of experience in the gem and jewelry business, we have developed an extensive network of the world's best gem dealers– call us for an explanation of how we can find the perfect gem for you!

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