This story was written by Estela Sedawie in 1993. Estela is the wife of Wayne Sedawie who owns Opal Plus. This story is fantastic!
Wayne & I drove to one of the mining towns in Lightning Ridge in 1993. It was the sheepyards in Glengarry about an hour and a half drive from Lightning Ridge. It was raining hard, but we didn’t mind the drive - I thought this trip is exciting as I’ve never been here before.
It wasn’t a real good day to fossick because it was raining but we were determined to get some Opals. Wayne was filling his buckets with so much opal; potch with colour and the rest are just something to play around it. We found this piece of opal rough which showed a slight of colour flash.
I told Wayne I will take this home and cut it myself. It was getting dark and we decided to pack up and leave. As we were heading towards Lightning Ridge, we didn’t realize that the heavy rain has caused so much flooding and turned the roads into a slushy muddy road. I thought no worries Wayne; we’ve got our mobile phones with us we can always ring for help. Wrong!! The mobile phones wouldn’t work.
Wayne was struggling to drive through the mud and slush, the windscreen wiper was on overload, mud was all over our windscreen - couldn’t see a thing and the car was criss-crossing and sliding on the road. The motor was overheating as it was filling up with mud.
Wayne had to stop every 20 minutes, and then I would hop out of the car and clean the windscreen with a towel just so Wayne could see. It was already dark and we were worried. We didn’t tell anyone where we were heading that morning. This was bad! One rule everyone knows is that when you drive out in the bush/outback you’ve got to tell someone. Well, tough luck for us - we didn’t tell anyone.
It was luck that got us through the horrible drive back. We drove into the petrol station around 8:00 pm and the Manager saw the state of the car and said - where the hell have you been!!!
I couldn’t wait the following morning to find out what that piece of Opal rough we found would bring for us. It was a difficult Opal stone to cut as all I could see was a very thin colour bar. I prepared myself for the challenge. I donned my cutting uniform, tools, and polishing gear. The Opal stone was hard to cut. I could see a glimmer of colour. I had been polishing for one hour to get to the colour bar and looks like the stone is not going to give me nothing.
As I persevered, voila!!! There I was amazed at the bluish/green/orange colour bars - it was magical. The colours glimmered and flashed in front of me - I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was so pleased with myself!!!
Now my dilemma - I want to keep this stone for myself - how to tell Wayne - I want this Stone! Yes, Yes, Yes, he was furious and wanted to sell it as he had buyer wanting this type gem opal, I was allowed to keep it. Our Italian Jeweller friend set it for me. It is set in 18k yellow gold, intricately hand crafted, about half an inch in width. The Opal is bezel set. Opal weighs 15 carats this was the outcome! I love this Opal and I treasure it!
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Now had Wayne found that stone, then he might have had a valid point in wanting to sell it on. But you found it, you brought it home rather than leaving it there, you then painstakingly brought the real beauty of the stone to the fore. Its a;; “you” girl! Sorry Wayne, you wouldn’t of had a leg to stand on mate. And after treating your wife to a day like that, I’d let her have the stone and thank the heavens for small mercies ;)
Seriously though, congrats on the find and even more so for making it back that night! It’s a dream of mine, to one day get over to Australia and spend as long as the Immigration Service will allow me on a mix of fossicking and fishing before kicking my butt out and back to the UK.