Opals are not named the queen of all gemstones for no reason. The world’s costliest opals ever discovered can compete with the asking price and allure of diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
About 90% of the world’s opals are produced by Australia, so it’s not surprising that the finest, rarest and priciest of opals come from this arid region, which used to be a home to marine dinosaurs eons ago.
The radiant Royal One is the most expensive opal in the world. A 68-year-old miner named Bobby brought this precious 306-carat black opal to New York in 2013 for appraisal. He said he found it at the Lightning Ridge mining field in NSW, Australia and kept it to himself for 14 years. It went on sale in Las Vegas for $3 million.
Olympic Australis is the second most expensive opal stone. It weighs about 17,000 carats and it’s 99% real opal of even color. The gemstone was found in Eight Mile, Coober Pedy, South Australia in 1956, around the same time the Summer Olympic games were held in the country (hence the name). This rare gemstone is said to be worth an astronomical A$2,500,000 or US$1,839,800.
The Virgin Rainbow may be the third most expensive opal stone but it’s easily the prettiest of all opal gemstones unearthed so far. The play of colors in this gem is just mind-blowing. Though this black crystal opal weighs about 72 carats, it costs a whopping one million dollars. John Dustan and Steve Zagar were the miners who found this belemnite fossil opal in Coober Pedy in 2003.
Maybe there are far more brilliant, exquisite or fascinating opals lying under the earth’s surface waiting to be mined. Even planet Mars has shown deposits of opals, according to Opportunity rover’s latest findings. Aren’t opal gemstones literally out of this world?
There are more intriguing gemstone tales to come so stay tuned and stay curious.