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Articles from GEMSTONES - LOOSE (254 Articles), OPAL JEWELLERY (73 Articles), OPALS - LOOSE (21 Articles)

A selection of opals from The National Opal Collection
A selection of opals from The National Opal Collection
 









World first for Australian opal

In a coup for Australia, its national gemstone, opal, has been named the “feature” gemstone for the first-ever government supported mineral, fossil and gem show in China.

The announcement was made yesterday by the China (Changsha) Mineral and Gem Show president Kong Sui, as part of a briefing to a group Australian mineral, fossil and gemstone professionals. Fittingly, the group assembled at The National Opal Collection Showrooms in Melbourne. A presentation also took place in Sydney on Wednesday. 

Mr Kong Sui, president of China Mineral and Gem Show
Mr Kong Sui, president of China Mineral and Gem Show
Sui was joined by president of the International Coloured Gemstone Association, Wilson Yuen. The two men were visiting the country to promote, and hopefully attract, Australian sellers and buyers to the show – which will take place from 16 May to 20 May.  

Another reason for the visit was to finalise an agreement that will see 100-150 items from The National Opal Collection feature at the show. The items will then stay in China for six months as part of a special museum exhibition. 

According to The National Opal Collection director Andrew Cody, the news not only positions the opal as a very important gemstone but also provides an unparalleled opportunity for the industry. 

Cody has been asked to organise an Australian delegation for the show. Delegates will receive a range of benefits including VIP status and free entry to the show. 

He added that the opal’s unique qualities mean that it can be categorised as a fossil, mineral and gemstone. The collection on display at the event will feature ‘opalised’ bones, shells and other types of fossils, which are over 100 million years old. It will also consist of mineralised opal and gemstones. 

Sui, who used his colleague Yuen as an interpreter, said: “People in China love the opal. It is a very special because it crosses over three different categories – coloured gem stone, mineral specimen and also fossil. And so it fits the concept of this gemstone show perfectly.” 

The show has taken two years to prepare and is said to have more than 1,000 exhibitors and 1,500 booths, two thirds of which will be filled by international suppliers. It reportedly follows a similar concept to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show – even being marketed as The Oriental “Tucson Show”.   

The Central Government of China and the Hunan Government are supporting the event, which will take place in the capital city of the Hunan province, Changsha. 

Mr Wilson Yuen, world president ICA
Mr Wilson Yuen, world president ICA
Over the past three years, Sui has been instrumental in the lobbying and policy-making of the show. He said his government had given great support to the event due to its interest in building the industry within the country.  

“Hunan is the largest natural mineral sourcing province in China. And one third of the mineral specialists in the global trade are from Hunan. The surrounding area of Hunan is also an important area for this kind of mineral natural resources,” he added.

The government also reportedly has plans to develop a coloured gemstone production marketing centre as a means of promoting the industry. 

In addition, Sui explained that he has been working over the past two years to educate the government on the importance of developing a proper green channel for the importation of gemstones and the like.

“If they don’t produce a proper green channel for the importation there will be no successful industry. Because who will come if there is hassle.

“In China, the government has realised they don’t want to be the world’s largest factory. They want to have a proper fine-tuned industry for themselves.” 

Sui also said recent research found that people in China spent $US120 billion on luxury jewellery and coloured gemstones in 2012. 

Ninety-five percent of the world's precious opal comes from Australia, where unique geological conditions allowed the formation of the rare gemstone. Most light opal is found in South Australia, black opal in New South Wales – especially Lightning Ridge, and boulder opal in Queensland.

An opal pineapple from The National Opal Collection
An opal pineapple from The National Opal Collection

(L to R) Andrew Cody, director The National Opal Collection; Mr Wilson Yuen; Mr Kong Sui; Damien Cody, ICA Ambassador
(L to R) Andrew Cody, director The National Opal Collection; Mr Wilson Yuen; Mr Kong Sui; Damien Cody, ICA Ambassador

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