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Morgan Waterhouse
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May 31, 2024

Australia's Opal fields lie in the three states of Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia, along the site of the ancient 'Great Inland Sea', or 'Great Artesian Basin'. White, or 'Milky' Opal, is found in South Australia, Black Opal is found in Lightning Ridge, NSW, and Boulder Opal is found in Queensland.
Australia’s opal deposits are distributed in or along the margin of the Great Artesian Basin. Coober Pedy, Andamooka, White Cliffs, and Lightning Ridge are some of the world’s best-known opal-producing areas. In June 2015, the authors visited Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, as well as Koroit, Yowah, and Quilpie in Queensland.
What are Australian opal doublets?
96% of Australian Opals come from three areas in the outback of Australia; these are in NSW, SA and in Central Queensland. Australian Opals can easily be differentiated by their colour and brilliance. To form an opal it takes salt, water, sand and approximately 50 million years.
A doublet opal is a layer of light precious opal bonded to a black or ironstone backing. They are unique and no two are exactly the same. These types of opal last a long time for everyday wear. Opal doublets are an inexpensive way to buy a beautiful piece of precious opal, avoiding the cost of a solid opal.
How to care for an opal doublet?
Opal doublets are just a strong and solid opals but because they are glued together prolonged exposure to water will cause lifting between the layers. It’s important to clean them with a damp soft cloth and mild detergent but should never be soaked as it will change to a grey colour if this happens. Otherwise you can send them to a professional polisher that could bring back life a dull opal.

Cover Photo: Courtesy of jasons.com.au, Opal Mining-Amazing Blues

Doublet Images by ILLARIY.

Australian Mining Field Map: Courtesy of GIA https://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/winter-2015-splendor-outback-australia-opal-fields

Doublet Image: Courtesy of opalauctions.com


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