Item Information

Dimensions (mm) not provided
Weight (carats) 10 carats

DESCRIPTION: A colorful parcel of Ethiopian Welo crystal opal rounds beads.

WEIGHT: 10 ctw

SIZE: Range of 4-9mm (6mm=1/4 inch)

TYPE: Ethiopian Welo Opal

SHAPE: Round Beads

COLOR: Mixed


COMMENT:The pictures and video are of the actual opals being sold.


This newly discovered Opal found in Welo/Wello Ethiopia is a new find that is quickly gaining the attention of the opal community. This opal was the hit of the recent Tucson international gem show. Welo opal requires a mountain of patience and some special cutting techniques but the finished result is every bit as stable as the better known Australian opals. The color is brilliant and rivals any top grade opal in the world. Most have a brightness level of at least 4 to 5 on the brightness scale with hot neon multi-color and multiple pattern mix. Welo opal is not generally classified as contra luz opal although I have seen a few. The color play is face up and in a lot of cases, as bright in artificial indoor light as it is in direct sunlight. This opal just loves any light source. This is hydrophane opal which when soaked in water allows the base color to clear up...sometimes highlighting the play-of-color, sometimes making it vanish. The best trait of the Welo hydrophane opal is that when it's dry and polished it can be one of the brightest opals in the world. From my experience, the Welo opal is as stable as the best of all that I have cut in the last 10 years. It can take twice as long to cut a finished stone, but the visual rewards are well worth the time. Different types of opals require specialty care for the beauty you enjoy... Welo opal is no different. No chemicals or detergents...If soaked in water, it will take one to two weeks to completely dry out and return to it original beautiful state. Do not try and accelerate the drying by any artificial means. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning for any opals. The Welo opal is found in the high plateaus of Ethiopia. It was discovered in December of 2008 in the Welo/Wello region. This is due west of the Gondar Desert(see map). Some call it Gondar desert opal but it is Welo/Wello opal and called such by the miners and dealers. Welo opal is the most stable opal find in Ethiopia to date. Ethiopian Opals are region specific in character traits just like Australian opals. I have seen the price of this opal rise dramatically over the last few months and it looks as though the price is going to go higher. The mines are currently owned by the Ethiopian government and they are in the middle of changing laws and will be selling these mines to large companies in the very near future.

NOTE: We are not resellers. we pick our rough out of multiple kilos and work with the miners direct. Each piece sold has been handpicked and cut either by myself or one of several master cutters. What you are bidding on is TopShelfOpal from Welo,Ethiopia. Our opals are solid, stable, natural, untreated and free of fractures. We take pride in being able to list the highest grade opals from Welo, Ethiopia. If you want to own one of the the hottest opals on the market today, try the Welo. It has changed my concept of brilliance and may just do the same for you.





The Welo opal is the most stable opal coming out of Africa (The land of gemstones) at this time and once cut, polished and dry, is generally more stable than Australian opal. When this opal is in a dry stable state and ready for jewelry, it's not as susceptible to extreme heat and cold as the Australian opal which has a higher water content. The Welo opal should not be treated or stabilized in either its rough or finished state as this will diminish the bright color play that is inherent in this region specific opal and will greatly devalue its beauty and worth. All of our opals are untreated and 100% natural. This type of opal is called "hydrophane" and is more porous than its Australian counterpart and as in all region specific opals, needs its own special cutting techniques to bring out the natural beauty and color play. Any treatment with oils or penetrating solutions can damage the opal and some have been found not only to seal the fractures but in some cases penetrate the opal itself causing a clouding effect which diminishes the color and brilliance in varying degrees. Having spent many years learning to cut different opals from around the world, I have found that the Welo opal if properly handled and cut can be as stunning as any top grade opal in the world. The Welo is a brilliant new discovery that for now is a fantastic affordable investment.


All photographs show the best highlights of each particular opal. Photos are taken using a Nikon D90, either outdoors or indoors and are taken with the intent of depicting true color and detail under optimal conditions. We use the highest grade photo equipment to show the opal as true as possible without having to use photo enhancement programs or special lenses. All photographs of the Ethiopian hydrophane opals are taken dry as to give a true depiction of what the opal will look like when finished. Hydrophane opals can become dramatically enhanced when wet and can give a false impression as to what the finished product will actually look like. Non hydrophane opals will at times be shown wet if in the rough or rubbed state as to show the color of the opal with a pseudo-polish.




Spring 2009
New Play-of-Color Opal from Welo, Ethiopia

A new source of high-quality play-of-color opal was discovered in early 2008 in Welo Province, Ethiopia, about 500 km north of Addis Ababa. This deposit is geographically distinct from the Mezezo deposit in Shewa Province, which was discovered in the early 1990s.

The contributors to the article examined a parcel of about five rough and 30 cut Welo opals supplied by Opalinda and Eyaopal, the main distributors of this material. They found that the cabochons showed good play-of-color (figure 1); the vast majority were white and transparent, but some had a bodycolor varying from light yellow to dark “chocolate” brown. Compared to Mezezo opals, those from the new deposit generally appear much whiter. They noted all spectral colors in the play-of-color in their samples. Most of the cabochons were similar in appearance to opals from Australia or Brazil. However, many samples displayed a columnar structure of play-of-color opal within common opal (figure 2), as first described in a like article about material from Mezezo. This feature is only very rarely observed in opals from sources outside Ethiopia.

The hydrostatic SG of the opals ranged from 1.80 to 2.10. This broad range is in part due to the high porosity of some samples, as revealed by a significant weight increase after immersion in water (up to 8%). Fluorescence varied from inert to moderate yellowish white to both long- and short-wave ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Samples that were inert displayed an unexpected greenish phosphorescence of moderate intensity. No luminescence was observed in the opals with a yellow-to-brown bodycolor, even the light ones; these darker bodycolors are probably due to the presence of iron, which quenches luminescence. The yellow-to-green luminescence is likely due to the presence of uranium. Welo opal is found in volcanic rock, possibly a rhyolite. The rough samples they examined consisted of opal (either common or play-of-color) cementing fragments of the host rock. By contrast, opal from Mezezo fills cavities in rhyolite, forming nodules. Despite these differences, the fact that columnar structures are seen in opals from both deposits (but very rarely from elsewhere) seems to indicate similarities in the conditions of their formation. To read all the information discussed in the article, please refer to the URL link at the top.



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Pricing & Details

Bid Increment $1
Starting Bid $1
Auction ID 247611
Watchers 4 watching
Viewed 1,353 times
Starts 20th Sep 2010 12:30pm PDT
Ends 28th Sep 2010 12:41pm PDT

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