Red Fire Black Opal Empress Found In Rough Parcel

Empress red fire back opal

Finding a red fire gem black opal in a parcel black opal rough is every opal cutters dream. Even many opal miners do not find a parcel of red opals in their life time of opal mining. Miners at Lighting Ridge always talk about finding a parcel of red fire black opal. It’s what keeps the men in a positive mental attitude that today might be the day that they find their pocket of black opal gems.

In reality it is a different story as just to find opal now is lot more difficult than it was years ago. Many miners found it easy to dig up pockets of opals in the mines but now there are more government policies that make it harder to do opal prospecting or opal mining. Production of black opal has been down for several years but demand is strong for top red on black Investment opal and many top gem opals are sold instantly on the opal fields as opal wholesalers have buyers worldwide wanting to snatch up the top fire black opals.

Watch This Opal Being Cut From The Rough

Just how rare is a red fire black opal?

Only an extremely small percentage of black opals are top gem black opal and only a smaller percentage are large which is over 10 carats. As miners say “More rare than a hens teeth!” This video of finding black opals red fire in a parcel rough opal are mining mates Paul, from Seda opals and Chris from Opalrush. They have both been mining at Lightning Ridge, Queensland for around 30 years each and have a lot mining experience to share. 

red fire black opal stage one rough to polished

Comments From Experienced Opal Cutters

Some of Our experienced opal sellers have made comments to show how rare it is to find these opals.

  • Wayne from Opalplus- Having personally cut and rubbed over 200,000 black opals and run an opal cutting factory , I have never cut fire red black opals like this video shows. Actually not many opal cutters will ever experience the pleasure of rubbing down parcel black opal rough to find gems
  • Patrik from RollingstoneOpals- Have been involved in the opal industry now for over 10 years and just trying to get your hands on the quality black opal rough parcel with jet black N1 body tone which everyone is always after is just so difficult as the darker the body tone the better fire - color play you get in the stone , then on top of this people are always after red color hence red on black to find large amount of this rough opal is extremely hard I get emails and messages from people want to buy 1 kg or 5 kg of quality black opal as they just do not understand Black opal does just not come in this large quantity as other gemstones and even in the rough , to cut stone so many things can go wrong sand , crack , inclusion , so to get a perfect cut black opal is extremely hard as mining has declined rapidly due to increase in mining cost and demand is always high for quality stones
  • Peter from ozzieopals- Rarer than hens’ teeth and so valuable
  • Sally from Trueblue Opals- Incredible video of watching the opal be cut from the rough,a black opal is just so rare Red on black is the best of black opal .
  • Ross Treasures opals- Pretty amazing stone. There are not many Opals out there that will show the same intense red flash of colour.

Paul from Seda Opals says as a rule of thumb only 1% of potch that is mined has any colour and only 1% of that is red on black so it is extremely rare. Now that you know how rare these opals are, browse our collection of Black Opals and try and find your own red on black gem.

Was this article helpful?

9 people found this article helpful



loved watching this video! More please begging.?.

30th Jan 2021

Enjoy learning about my favorite gem! Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Gives me a great appreciation for the Opal hunter!

26th Jul 2020

Such a fun video! I'd love to see more of these types of videos when a cutter thinks he or she MIGHT have a particularly great stone—so cool to see it go from "bland" rough to amazing!

Of course, listening to Paul & Chris comment along the way is fun, too—not every cutter necessarily has a bubbly personality like they do :)

I wonder how long the whole process took in "real life" from the moment the rough actually touched a grinding wheel?

Videos like this would be nice in GRA, too, when some of the cutters get a special piece of rough. Bet it would increase the selling price—hint, hint to the few exceptional cutters out there (I'm lookin' at you—Ross, Barry, Boyd, and others—lol!)



19th Apr 2017

This opal just has crazy fire. It must be nerve racking to cut something like that. Love the video!

8th Dec 2015

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