Black Opal from Lighting Ridge has a worldwide reputation as a top source for quality and rare opals. Today this stone is considered one of the rarest gemstones in the world. It is now rare for opal miners to find deep dark black opal that is cabochon with good color and body tone rating of N1.
On top of this it is rare to find unusual patterns in the opal. The rarest pattern is Harlequin, followed by mackerel and other unique patterns. Recently demand has been strong for black and crystal opal that has Chinese characters in the pattern.
Straw and Chaff patterns do sometimes closely resemble Chinese characters. There are over 3,000 Characters in the Chinese language and interpretation is sometimes difficult. Generally the characters are more closely related to Chinese characters than Japanese or Korean. Also with many different translations it can be fluid.
Fluid is the polite Chinese way of saying not everyone will agree with what characters you can see in the opal. Obviously by moving the opal the patterns can change to be stronger or duller and harder to read.
Chinese buyers of rough opal have had a long history of buying opals from Coober Pedy in south Australia as they arrived in Australia in the 1853 Gold rush days but many ended up opal mining instead. By 1861 there were 24,000 Chinese gold miners, and many found fortunes in the opal fields also.
These opal fields never had Chinese writing Characters in the white fire opal fields in this region. So only recently Chinese have looked at black Opals and noticed the characters that before would have been called Straw or Chaff patterns.
Here are some beautiful examples of opals with Chinese writing.
Black opal with Chinese characters that represent ‘Long Life’
Black opal with Chinese characters that represent ‘Bless’
Black opal with Chinese characters that represent ‘Bless’ - so good for Oil baron to own
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