In the past few months I have been approached by two separate opal miners for help in selling two unique but totally different opals. As yet both are unsold and still on the market.

The first started with a customer telling me about a friend who was an opal miner years ago who had a very nice opal for sale. He hadn’t mined for many years so had lost contact with the industry. I gave the customer my number saying I would try to help the retired miner with some up to date contacts if he cared to ring.

I had a phone call from the miner and as with most miners I took what he said with a grain of salt. Most miners when talking about their ‘special stones’ tend to exaggerate. Over the phone he described an opal that just could not exist. I also thought the weight was probably exaggerated as he was guessing.  He hadn’t been to Canberra for over 30 years so he said he would bring it for me to have a look.

A few days later in walked this typical opal miner with a leather string pendant (Tanned kangaroo scrotum pouch). After introductions he took the pendant off his neck and mentioned it contained the crown jewels.

When he emptied the opal out my initial reaction was WOW. The opal was the most exquisite opal I have ever seen. The size was exactly the same as my palm and it was about 3 cm thick. It was a black opal nobby from Lightning Ridge polished except for the back. Predominantly green/blue it had a remarkable pattern and was brighter then most gem grade triplets. This was the best of several stones he found just before retiring. It was so wonderfully beautiful he did not sell it. Now he didn’t want to burden his family with the problem of dividing it after he died.  Consequently he was looking for a buyer. I asked him what he was thinking it was worth. His reply was he was looking for offers of over a million dollars. My opinion is it is worth every bit of that and is amongst the most beautiful things that have ever come out of the ground. I cannot put a picture of it here, but for anyone with money to burn this stone is a bargain.

The second opal came about by a financial guy contacting me on behalf of a client wishing to sell “a spectacular 73 kilo opal”.

Opalised shell specimen

After a couple of e mails it turns out that this opal is a large specimen of opalised shells from Coober Pedy. Over the years I have seen several large groups of magnificent opalised shells. In particular, a few specimens from a small field a little out of Coober Pedy called ‘Shell Patch were memorable. Some of these groups would have weighed at least as much as this latest offer.  I was sent some pictures and accompanying them was a valuation from an opal business valuing the group at 5.1 million dollars. I think they were dreaming and picking numbers at random from a make believe hat but then you only need one fool with more money then sense.

Not to detract from this interesting group of opalised ancient history. It is an unusual specimen and it does have a lot of beautiful shells in it.

Close up of the shells

It is simply not worth anything close to the valuation. From our correspondence it is obvious the owner knows this valuation is a little fanciful so they would be interested in a realistic offer.


  1. Hello Garry,
    I am always interested in looking at opal from Mintabie’s golden era! Please send the pictures. There was so much opal coming out back then. I was classing opal (putting a value on the rough opal for sale) for several miners at that time and the average pocket was 50 to 60 thousand dollars back when opal was cheap! The Old field was producing some magnificent and very thick material, amongst the hardest opal of all, and extremely stable, making it perfect for jewellery. REALLY GOOD STUFF. I still have some of the very best from these times put away for kids and grandkids.

  2. Hi I am not here to buzz you on selling opal I have nine opals from Mintabie South Australia I would like to send to you photo,s of them I bought these about 23 years ago for the princely sum of $480.00 Australian actually i have 10 but i left one with a friend in Santa Maria CAL it is nice see on here some body who talks straight .The largest one i have is 38.7 Cts

  3. Hello Patrick,
    I get many people sending E mails such as yours and I am still waiting for one of them to be right. A 40 carat opal would have to be incredably spectacular to come even close to this sort of value. How about sending some pictures, a description and some information about it.

  4. I have an black opal as described as valuable in your Million dolar category. The opal weight is 8grams, Hardness is 7 on the Moh’s scale, Lenght is 24mm and Width is 20mm. Am looking for interesred buyers. The opal was found 12 years ago.

  5. Beautiful simply beautiful.
    I was contacted last week by a gentleman that has about 36K carats of rough opal. Who can handle a purchase like that? Asking $1.2 billion before a 40% discount. They want me to find a buyer but he does not want me to shop it. Any suggestions?

    Thank you

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