What Is Queensland Boulder Opal?

What is Boulder opal? Boulder opal in the rough.

Queensland Boulder Opal: What makes it so special?

Queensland Boulder Opal is treasured throughout the world because people love its unique beauty and deep colouration.

As the name ‘Boulder’ suggests, the colourful opal forms inside cracks and fissures within ironstone boulders.

The opal forms over millions of years from water containing silica-rich minerals having seeped from river currents or streams, resulting in a gemstone with “playful” colours that last forever.

To prepare these beautiful gemstones for jewellery, cutters divide the ironstone boulder, leaving the opal sitting on top of either side or just one side, before cutting and polishing.

 

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Why is it so valuable?

Queensland Boulder Opal is the rarest and expensive type of this natural gemstone.

The reason why it’s so valuable? Well, how about an intense mystical fire inside that has really popularised this gemstone for thousands of years.

It’s found only in one country on earth where you have an intense fire inside– Australia!

Opal miners have many places to explore in their search for Queensland Boulder Opal.

The primary fields include Winton, Quilpie, Opalton, Yowah, Eromanga and Cunnamulla.

A fine example could be worth even more than diamonds because of their popularity with people who love these fiery stones or those looking for something unique.

 The natural iron base of Queensland Boulder Opal gives it stability and depth.

The varied shapes in which these gemstones occur make for interesting jewellery with vibrant, bold hues you can’t find anywhere else.

The value of Queensland Boulder Opal depends upon the colours in the gemstone.

A colourful specimen would be more expensive than a gem that has a few dull colours.

Likewise, a dark opal gem is more valuable than a light-shaded one.

The worth of the jewels follows an order. Red is the rarest and hence most valuable. It’s trailed by orange, green, blue, and purple.

Uses of opal

Many people believe all opal has magical powers. It is said that if you wear an opal on your neck or shoulders for protection from negative energy then nothing will go wrong that day.

Opal tends to have a calming effect on the inner soul; the varied colours in the stone represent changing emotions. It enhances personal actualisation and self-awareness.

Ancient Greeks and Romans particularly believed the stone to have special powers. They used it to improve their mental health and ward off evil spirits.

They also prized the gemstone because of its colourful display and variety of patterns, which range from fine lines to chic metropolitan “cityscapes”.

The stones themselves have been intricately carved into everything from jewellery pieces like earrings and necklaces to various household items such as kitchen tiles.

Boulder opal jewellery

Queensland Boulder Opal is a unique and beautiful gemstone that can make an excellent gift.

The contrasting colours add to the beauty of the jewellery piece, whether it’s a ring or a necklace— the play of colours in the stone expresses individuality.

Opal comes in all different colours, so you will find something perfect for anyone on your list, or to boost your own collection.

Here are some tips about caring for them:

  • Queensland Boulder Opal does not require much care, as the stone is relatively stable on its own. It remains unaffected by water.
  • It just needs cleaning with mild detergent and clean cloths to shine again once dry (or sometimes even polish).
  • Oils will also not damage these stones, but over time they may build-up, resulting in reduced clarity.
  • Opal jewellery shouldn’t be dropped onto a hard surface, for the gemstone might chip or crack. It is best to take off your rings before cleaning or any type of manual work.

PHOTO GALLERY: WINTON

 

FAST FACTS:

  • Opal is a gemstone that symbolises innocence and purity. It is said to promote peace, love, and hope
  • The birthstone of October, opal is also the stone that celebrates 14 years of marriage
  • In ancient times this stone was considered sacred by Romans who believed it had magical powers for healing skin conditions such as leprosy
  • Queensland’s Boulder Opal gets its name from the fact it is found in boulders
  • Opal comes in a variety of colours and shapes. There’s black opal, white opal crystal-like in appearance and jelly; other types include firey varieties like hyaline or honeyed ones from Lightning Ridge
  • Boulder Opal is found only in Queensland. Other opals are found in Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Ural Mountains (Russia), the United States, and India.

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