But these opals were always pale in color with more delicate overtones. The famous opal fields of White Cliffs and Coober Pedy in Australia mainly produced this pale colored opal but at times dark or black opals were found, particularly in other opal fields in South Australia such as Andamooka and Mintabie.
Black Australian opals from the Lightning Ridge NSW fields
About a hundred years ago, Sheep and cattle farmers came across opals further north in Australia in the Lightning Ridge are about 70 km from the agricultural center of Walgett.
These opals were discovered in the form of what are called ‘nobbies’ which are chunks of opal potch often resulting from fossilized sea creature and because they were often in the shape of a popular hat worn by Chinese cooks, they were dubbed ‘Chinese hats’
The interesting part about it was that the exact same type of light-colored opal was discovered nestled in a dark or black background, hence giving the foreground of the stone a more dark, dense and dramatic look.
The early miners really did not know how to describe this new gemstone, so they came up with the term ‘BLACK OPAL’ which as aforesaid, is a bit confusing. Hopefully, though, this explanation will help you in making a decision if you ever want to be the owner of one of them. Take a look here if you want to get more details of the one on display.
Make sure you check out our “Black Australian Opals” direct from Opalmine