DescriptionDRAMATIC BOULDER OPAL
Western Queensland, Australia
Opal miners in Australia work long hot months digging and breaking rock underground in the barren outback looking for opals. Rarely do they find bits of gem opal bigger than a thumbnail, hidden within rust-colored boulders of mudstone. Imagine their amazement and excitement when they broke open a large round boulder and found a dramatic, beautiful, and completely unexpected sea of opal inside. What they found was a massive specimen of boulder opal, which comprise only 2% of all opal found. As masses of mud dry up, internal cracks form, which can fill with silica-infused water that condenses into opal; in this case, a very large series of cracks combined to form a pillared cavity. The cavity filled with silica-rich water during wet seasons to form many layers of rainbow fire opal between the pillars, but the water never lasted long enough to fill the cavity completely with opal. The result is a sea of precious opal with pillars of mudstone rising out of it; the columns are coated with thin veneers of opal from when water did temporarily fill up the entire cavity. The quality of the opal alone makes this a worthwhile specimen; the precious opal has rainbows of color ranging from washes of deep blue to gorgeous turquoise to rich purples along with pinpoints of red and green fire. The swirling browns of the ironstone matrix provide the perfect contrast to offset the dazzling opal. This extraordinary find has never been touched up by man; it demonstrates the dramatic beauty of nature and measures approximately 11 x 6 x 7 inches, presented on a custom metal display stand.
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