Black Opal Lightning Ridge Australia
Coober Pedy Crystal Opal Cut and Rough
Rough Black Opal from Lightning Ridge Australia. Queensland Boulder Opal. Cut Opal. Opal Jewelry Direct from Miner
Opal was discovered in Lightning Ridge in the late 1880s, but its value was not recognized until Charlie Nettleton sank the first shaft in 1903. Charlie sold the first parcel of gems later that year. Then the town dramatically expanded with the influx of miners from White Cliffs, another world-famous mining area in Australia. By 1909–1910, when the local population rose to around 1,000, mining operations had expanded to about 10 km west of the town. The moderate production was quite stable between 1910 and 1920. After 1920 the mining fields were very quiet, with little production recorded.
The reactivation of opal production happened in 1958 with increasing demand and the introduction of machinery mining. The increasing price further expanded underground mining and made open-pit mining possible around 1970. The heyday of black opal came in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Japanese fell in love with the gem. As the demand from Japan started to fall, the Chinese gradually learned more and more about opal, and China has the potential to become a major opal consumer. From GIA
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