The opal you see glistening its fiery colors from a jeweler or gem dealer has an exciting story to tell. Formed over millions of years beneath the earth’s surface, opals grow from dried up silica mineral deposits. Opals grow in extreme conditions, so it’s only natural that the process of mining them is equally harsh. So harsh, in fact, that Discovery Channel created an entire series on opal mining, called Outback Opal Hunters.
The series chronicles Australian miners as they brave harsh, often dangerous conditions to unearth these elusive gemstones. As you might imagine, following them along on their missions into the earth makes for great television!
Along the way, opal hunters journey into remote areas across the Australian outback in pursuit of lucrative opal veins producing rich specimens. We’ve even got our hands on a few of the gems from the show!
Today, we’re rounding up some of the most amazing opals in our collection featured in Outback Opal Hunters.
Ready to hunt for opals? Let’s dig. But first, let’s get the lay of the land to understand what types of opals are featured in the series.
If you’ve watched the show, you’ve likely seen miners across the Australian Outback. So, which opal fields does the show feature, and what finds have they produced? While opals come from all across Australia, the Outback climate is optimal for opal growing.
Outback Opal Hunters follows teams across the regions known for producing impressive opal specimens, including:
Lightning Ridge in New South Wales - The primary source of black opal, the most valuable opal that exists.
Coober Pedy in South Australia - Known as the “Opal Capital of the World,” the region’s harsh arid climates produce the largest source of opals in the world.
White Cliffs in New South Wales - Australia’s original commercial opal field and a hotbed for white opal and ancient opalized fossils and shells.
Opalton in Queensland - A region where sprawling ironstone outcrops produce Boulder Opal, a prized variation with intact brown ironstone.
So, what kind of treasures have been unearthed from these opal fields? Let’s explore!
The show’s three seasons have produced an impressive lot of opals. Let’s take a look at some of the memorable opals featured in Outback Opal Hunters that made their way into our marketplace.
Just shy of 7 carats, this beautiful black opal was purchased from Peter Cook, an opal miner from Outback Opal Hunters. On the show, the opal was dug straight from the wall in episode 11, taken to the gem cutter, and sold directly to Opal Auctions’ very own Paul Sedawie.
The episode shows the evolution of the gem, from descending into the mine to dig out the specimen to cutting it to selling it — you can see the entire process unfold, which is quite incredible!
When the gem was mined, it was an uncut, rough opal. After cutting and polishing, the opal is triangular and eye-clean (inclusion-free), making it beautiful for setting into a ring or necklace pendant. The opal displays vivid neon colors of blue, green, yellow, and red displayed in a striking pattern.
Learn more about this stunning black opal here.
This large, oval cut polished opal from Lightning Ridge was featured on season 3 of Outback Opal Hunters — the miners on the show sold it directly to our verified opal seller. In the episode, the opal is cut from a large rough piece of opal, then polished and sold. With stunning hues of blue, teal, and neon green, this large opal is highly desirable among collectors and jewelry lovers alike.
The pattern across the stone would look stunning in a ring or pendant. Holding the gemstone you can see glistening neon colors that dance beautifully in the light. Very deserving of a television feature, if you ask us!
Let’s look at this large, pastel-hued, semi-black Lightning Ridge opal featured in Outback Opal Hunters.
Weighing a whopping 10.4 carats, this opal features gorgeous fire and play of color. The strong polish creates a high luster that illuminates vivid shades of green, blue, yellow, orange, and red.
The body tone is dark opal that’s considered semi-black, which creates intense fire across the stone. Talk about a statement gem!
The last Opal we are going to show you comes from Peter Cook and his off sider Sam. This stone was presented as a rub, a semi finished stone that needed to be inspected and finally cut.
This photo shows the stone as it was presented with a dark skin on the top. After Paul purchased the stone and studied it carefully, he cut this incredible stone out of it.
Peter cook was very impressed with the final stone
Learn more about this stone here.
In recent years, there’s been an opal revival and Outback Opal Hunters has brought worldwide interest to these prized jewels. The opal mining process isn’t for the faint of heart, and the miners undergo extreme conditions in pursuit of a lucrative yield.
Mining for opals requires patience, persistence, and dependable equipment. The docuseries has brought global exposure to our corner of the world where opals flourish.
While miners have to get their hands dirty and spend a good deal of time digging underground, it’s worth it to uncover a fiery, glittering opal. If you want to get in on the action, you can bid on any one of the opals featured in this article.
And while you’re here, don’t forget to explore our vast marketplace of black opal, rough opal, Boulder opal, and more from Opal Auctions! And be sure to keep a lookout, because you’ll never know when you might see us make an appearance on Outback Opal Hunters , after all, opal hunting is in our blood!
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