Ever since the 19th century, the Australian outback has been known as an opal paradise. The stunning rainbow gems found in places such as Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy and Quilpie have captivated the world with their color. The stones from Down Under have been responsible for as much as 95% of the world’s gem-quality opals. But the spectacular squares in our Abyssinia Opal Collection belong to that exclusive 5%.
Aussie opals faced little competition from the rest of the world until 1939, when a famous anthropologist uncovered opal artifacts in Kenya that dated back to 4000 BC. The historic find left him convinced that great opal mines had to be nearby. But no significant deposits were ever found. And it would be more than 50 years before the “lost gem” of Africa would make its triumphant return.
In the 1990s, the discovery of opals in Ethiopia marked the dawn of a new age for the beloved gemstone. Deposits in regions such as Welo unveiled a spectacular new family of opals. Mining is a time-consuming process that is still done by hand, one rock at a time. So even while the worldwide demand for this rare new gem is at an all-time high, finding enough exceptional rough, is a challenge.
To call our Abyssinia Opal Ring a rarity would be an understatement. It’s nothing short of a revelation. Honestly, the best part of shopping the world for precious gems is that, once in a while, I stumble on something that I’ve NEVER seen before. Finding this extraordinary cache of Ethiopian opals was cause enough for celebration. But discovering an artist who could transform the rough gem into an elegantly-faceted jewel? That was a miracle.
Expert gem-cutters adore the Ethiopian opal for its consistent color play. The iridescent rainbow penetrates deep into the rough stone so, in skilled hands, the right cut will set all that color free. Our Abyssinia Ring features a 1-carat emerald-cut Ethiopian opal, prong-set in gold-finished sterling silver, flanked by genuine white diamonds. The matching post-back earrings are similarly set in gold-layered .925 sterling and topped with a threesome of white diamond rounds.
We’ve never offered a faceted opal. We’re betting that you’ve never owned one, which makes this an excellent opportunity for all of us to experience the magic and mystery of Africa’s “lost gemstone.” Don’t miss your chance to own a truly unique collection that illuminates the beauty of the legendary opal in a bold new way.