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Articles from OPAL JEWELLERY (70 Articles), OPALS - LOOSE (21 Articles)

Unset boulder opal mined and cut by Flood Gems
Unset boulder opal mined and cut by Flood Gems
 









Opal market improves locally and internationally

Local and international demand for Australian opal is on the rise, according to the organiser of an upcoming opal exhibition.

Australian Opal Exhibition coordinator Maxine O’Brien told Jeweller that the number of opal buyer visits to Lightning Ridge in New South Wales in particular had “increased quite dramatically” in the past year, and that exploration and mining activity on the black opal fields around the region was ramping up.

O’Brien said that international interest in Australian opal was also increasing, with demand improving in the United States, Europe, China and Japan, despite – or possibly due to – a recent setback from overseas competition.

“Over the previous five years, Australian opal sales were impacted by the large production of hydrophane opal coming out of Ethiopia,” she explains. “One school of thought suggests that Ethiopian opal expanded the overall market for opal at a reduced cost for the product; however, now the international market has realised that Australian opal is a far superior and its higher cost is justified.”
 

Article continues below...

The Tempest by Daniela L
The Tempest by Daniela L'Abbate from Down to Earth Opals. Source: Jenni Brammall
Split black nobby from Down to Earth Opals. Source: Jenni Brammall
Split black nobby from Down to Earth Opals. Source: Jenni Brammall
Red Sail by Daniela L
Red Sail by Daniela L'Abbate from Down to Earth Opals. Source: Jenni Brammall

The Red River from Clifton Opal. Source: Alex Barnes
The Red River from Clifton Opal. Source: Alex Barnes

Red October from Clifton Opal. Source: Alex Barnes
Red October from Clifton Opal. Source: Alex Barnes
Balena Opulento by Daniela L
Balena Opulento by Daniela L'Abbate from Down to Earth Opals. Source: Jenni Brammall
In Motion series of kinetic opal rings from Down to Earth Opals. Source: Jenni Brammall
In Motion series of kinetic opal rings from Down to Earth Opals. Source: Jenni Brammall

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Opal on show

The news is likely to augur well for the Australian Opal Exhibition that is set to take place in August.

Australian Opal Exhibition president Janice Evert explained that increasing interest for the gemstone had been indicated through the positive visitor response already received in relation to this year’s event.

“The world market is picking up for our national gemstone and we are seeing this reflected in early bookings for a variety of exhibition spaces,” she said.

The 13th annual Australian Opal Exhibition will be held at the QT Gold Coast Hotel in Queensland from 7–8 August 2014, providing an opportunity for suppliers and miners from across Australia to sell opal and opal jewellery.

Although exhibitors are all local, in line with the organising committee’s policy of only permitting Australian opal to be sold at the exhibition, O’Brien said that the event was regularly attended by international buyers – including those from Japan, the US, Europe, South Africa and China.

“Each year there is a slightly different mix. Predominantly the buyers are Australian gemstone and jewellery wholesalers and retailers who sell internationally,” she explained, adding that exhibitor and buyer numbers had been modestly increasing in recent years with 2013 achieving the best turnout in at least five years.

Evert said that buyers would be able to source black opal from NSW, boulder opal from Queensland, light opal from South Australia, as well as a variety of opal jewellery, rough and rubs (pieces of opal that have been applied to a lapidary wheel to expose the colour of the gem underneath) at this year’s event. The show will include a number of new exhibitors, including the world-renowned, award-winning opal carver, Daniela L’Abbate.

Learn about Australia's national gemstone

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