19.72 Lightning Ridge Opal
Lightning Ridge Opal is very sought after and prized by gem aficionados around the world. We carry a large variety of gems and opals at Simone & Son in every price point. Opal in general come in every price range and from nearly every continent. There are White Opal, Opal Doublets, Fire Opals from Mexico, Opals from South America and we even get some Opals from Africa, but far and away the finest quality comes from Lightning Ridge, in Australia.
Situated in the upper portion of the state of New South Wales, just below the Queensland boarder, Lightning Ridge is a small town of a few thousand, but also the name used to refer to the larger mining area in general.
The Lightning Ridge opal fields are located on a site where once existed a vast inland sea. These opal fields are home to a wide variety of trees, vegetation and animal life possessing an innate beauty of their own, in addition to the beautiful gems that lie deep beneath the surface.
Two basic formations of opal occur here, seam, a platelet type, and the second is nobby, or fossil material, consisting of nobular concretions and animal or plant fossil replacement. As with opal from other areas, opal is a hydro-silicate; the play of color coming from the refraction of light transmitted through the silica spheres aligned in the opal stone.
To this day Lightning Ridge is the only place where stable black opal is found. Lightning Ridge black opal is the rarest of all and because its black opaqueness enhances the color it is also considered the most beautiful. It comes in varying degrees of darkness, color, scintillation or brightness, pattern and shape. All of these factors come into play as far as market value is considered, and as mining production continues to dwindle, the price will continue to escalate.
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