What is Rough Matrix Opal?
The term ‘Matrix Opal” describes the opal that has flecks of color running throughout the body of the boulder opal ironstone. This material is available form time to time and is great for making matching pairs or carving as well as pendant and ring stones. We will complete this article as time permits, with pictures and more descriptions so in the meantime please contact us here for more information about matrix opal.
Matrix Opal comes in different forms
There are many different types of matrix from Winton and Opalton to the north in Western Queensland down to the southern fields of Yowah and Koroit and other smaller mines. Although the field share matrix with one another, sometimes producing material that looks like it came from a different mine, the fact of the matter is that you really never know what you are going to find. Having said that, Yowah and Koroit are famous for their interesting shows of banded color with all sorts of shapes and patterns that just amaze you, while generally speaking you are more likely to find full clean faced opal color in the Quilpie and Winton regions. Below is an example of the extremely hard high polish achievable from Koroit matrix in the form of a carved fish. It is also a good example of the fascinating shapes and colors of this material.
Matrix is the ‘Mother’ of the precious opal color
The ironstone is the medium by which the color is ‘held’ but instead of extracting the color from the mother (giving birth to it) the color of matrix opal is polished WITH the ironstone as the pictures here show. Thus, an amazing feature is demonstrated. Often these wonderful stones have a personality even more fascinating than the full opal stones themselves.