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    Description

    STUNNING BLACK OPAL CABOCHON
    Lightning Ridge, Australia
    Precious opal is a semi-amorphous gem mineral composed of silicon dioxide with varying amounts of water in the structure. 90% of 'gem' opal is "light" opal: white in color or almost so, but a small proportion, found most frequently in the deposits at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, is 'Black Opal'. Precious opal occurs here in irregular nodules called "nobbies" or in thin seams. 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 made 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 'pin-fire' specks, predominantly of a red-orange color, while the raised portion of the cabochon boasts a riot of scintillating shades, from golden yellow to deep purple, via green, blue, red and orange. This spectral coloring phenomenon is formed by microscopic spheres of silica of a uniform size, and arranged in roughly parallel layers. The play of color being the result of light passing between these spheres and reflecting off of the layers. The range of observable colors is directly related to the size of the spheres and the spacing of the layers; for example, to reflect red, the spacing must be comparatively large (0.0003 mm), an unusually uncommon occurrence, which therefore is more highly valued. The cabochon weighs 154.34 ct and measures 3 x 1 5/8 x ΒΌ inches (7.6 x 4.1 x .6 cm).


    Estimate: $45,000 - $60,000.

    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 Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    20th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,648

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