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Prepre for marketPreparing for Market

Finding Opal
The vast areas of inland Australia provide a rich hiding ground for opal. It is believed that the opals started to form within the cretaceous sediments created in the era of the dinosaurs, over 100 million years ago. The rarity of these opal deposits is made evident as miners prospect over vast areas, spending months or even years, searching for a spark of colour beneath masses of rock, before a suitable mine is discovered. Eventually, after painstakingly careful mining and a little luck, the opal is found and recovered.

The mining process
Opals are mined by individual miners or small syndicates of miners. Opal rich sediments are extracted from underground mining activity as well as open cut methods, generally not exceeding thirty metres below the surface. Various processing methods are used to extract the gems from the sediments of clay and sandstone. The resulting refined material is then hand sorted to recover the rare flash of colour that may be a gem quality opal (usually only a very small fraction of the processed material.)

Cutting and polishing
Opal cutting and polishing is a very specialised skill. Each gem displays a unique landscape of colour, requiring great artistry and understanding from a master cutter to frame and capture the magic of each opal. This task is executed in small studio workshops by talented and exacting craftsmen and women, charged with  transforming the potential of the rough specimens into precious opal gemstones.

GDA™ is proudly supported by:
Opal Producers Australia Limited