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    Description

    STUNNING BLACK OPAL CABOCHON
    Lightning Ridge, Australia
    Precious opal is a mineraloid gem composed of amorphous hydrated silicon dioxide. 90% of opal is "light" opal, white or crystalline, but a small proportion, found most abundantly in the deposits at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, is black opal. Opal occurs here in irregular nodules or thin seams, most often at the junction of soft grey clay stone and the overlaying sandstone. This extraordinary example is from that famous locale, and has been painstakingly carved and polished into a beautiful cabochon. The natural play of colors have been carefully followed by the master lapidarist who prepared it to make it appear as though one thin slab sits on top of another. In reality, however, this is all one stone: the background sparkles with tiny glittering specks, predominantly of a red-orange color, whilst the raised part of the cabochon boasts a riot of scintillating shades, from golden yellow to deep purple, via green, blue, red and orange. This amazing coloring is formed by microscopic spheres of silica grown around a central nucleus, and the play of color is the result of light passing between these spheres and through the spheres themselves. The range of observable colors is directly related to the size of the spheres; for example, to appear red, they must be comparatively large (0.0003 mm), an unusual occurrence and therefore all the more to be valued in such profusion on this specimen. The cabochon weighs 154.34 ct and measures 3 x 1 5/8 x ΒΌ inches and it is accompanied by a certificate from the AGTA Gemological Testing Center.


    Estimate: $60,000 - $75,000.

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    18th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,257

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