The Mintabie opal gets its name from the location where it is mined in Mintabie, Australia. This is a location that is located somewhere around 180 kilometers south from the border of the Northern Territory and nearly 300 kilometers north from Coober Pedy. This is a mine that has gained notoriety for its ability to produce great crystal opals that have very unique contrasts between fire and color. These are opals that make some very stunning triplets. While this area is most famous for their crystal opals. In the 1980s, this area was the biggest opal producers by value.
The actual geology of this specific opal is quite different from a lot of the other areas in Australia where opals are mined. Opals here can still be found along the edge of the area’s Great Artesian Basin, however these crystal opals are typically found in the Lower Cretaceous bed. There is a wide range of colors that these opals can come in, from practically all back to an opaque white and everything in between. There are sketches of color that add to this gorgeous color as well. These Mintabie opals are typically found in good quality. Interestingly, it can be exceedingly difficult for a person to mine this gem. The reason for this is because Ordovician, the host rock, is a lot older than the Cretaceous rock of more ancient periods. For this reason, modern miners tend to utilize tools such as heavy bulldozers to aid with mining. This can be done without doing too much harm to the opals as these gems can resist stretching more than many of the other opals from Australia. The Mintabie opals are found in exclusive fields in this city and these are generally located on the freehold Aboriginal territory. The temperatures of these locations are not very comfortable, ranging from 40 degrees to temperatures that are below zero.
Many civilizations view the opal as a lucky gem and this is especially true for the native Aborigines. The Aborigines also believe that the opal is actually our creator’s footprint, which has touched the earth at a rainbow’s base to bring harmony to the people and this explains the unique coloring to these gems. Scientifically speaking, the majestic color play of these gems is actually caused by the millions of silica spheres that are found within the gemstone, which are different sizes and reflects different color to the person looking at the gem.
Every single one of these gems is their own unique looking gemstone. This means that by simply buying a piece with an opal in it, you are purchasing a piece that is truly one of a kind. There are different base colors and various patterns that can be found in each gemstone, which is going to add to just how unique every single opal is. These are popular gemstones and the Mintabie opal is one of the most popular of this variety.
Was this article helpful?9 people found this article helpful
Hi Mike, thank you for your message
We did investigate with opal miners from Mintabie and I also was informed it is rare to find fossils in Mintabie.
There are not many opal miners left now due to pending town closure.
I have seen fossilised opal bone by opal miner who informed me he worked at Mintabie in the 1980s
For obvious reasons, many opal miners do not fully disclose where they found their opals.
We have deleted fossil opals from this article
you said: "While this area is most famous for their crystal opals, you can also find opalised fossils here as well. ".
I've been fascinated and enchanted, enthralled, by opalised fossils since 1969.
To my knowledge, I know of no opalised fossils to have been unearthed in Mintabie from where I have bought opal since the 1980's.
I'd love to know if that's not the case, however.
Can you provide an example, or examples, please?
Cheers, Mike Poben (Australian Opal buyer since 1984, finder of Weewarrasaurus pobeni)