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.

    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. 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.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Requires 3rd Party Shipping (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    6th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,104

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2018 May 4 American Art - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thank you for the wonderful job Heritage did with promotion of this piece. So appreciative.
    Laura I.,
    Tulsa, OK
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2017 October 13 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2017 October 13 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,098,328