Exceptional Contra Luz Opal Carving—“Aurora Borealis over Mt. Rainier”
Lot 8427
Exceptional Contra Luz Opal Carving—“Aurora Borealis over Mt. Rainier”
Sold for US$ 20,315 inc. premium

Lot Details
Exceptional Contra Luz Opal Carving—“Aurora Borealis over Mt. Rainier”
By Thomas Harth Ames
Opal Butte, near Morrow City, Oregon
Reverse intaglio carved from a rare slab of highly transparent contra luz opal from the southwest corner of the Blue Mountain Range in Oregon, measuring up to 5mm thick. Oregon opals typically have an orange to clear base color without any fire. The present specimen is spectacular not only for its size but because it is a contra luz piece. Contra luz in Spanish means "against the light" in that the pieces show a play of color when light passes through it rather than possessing a play-of-color resulting from reflections from internal platelets as with other opals. The fire in a contra luz opal is most visible when illuminated from behind. Thomas harth Ames has discovered a way to bring out the fire in this fine precious opal.
The rays of the setting sun slanting over the profile of Mt. Rainier in Washington State, the play of color forming the aurora borealis effect. Set into a polished black granite base, length 3 7/8 in, signed with monogram THA for Thomas Harth Ames.

Footnotes


  • Accompanied by a out-of-print copy of the book Opal Identifiation and Value, by Paul B. Downing, Ph. D. Page 146 of this book pictures Ames' work and describes the importance of Oregon contra luz opals. Signed by Thomas Harth Ames.

    Also offered together with a now out-of-print copy of a Lapidary Journal, February 1995, featuring an article about Ames entitled “Precision Personified”. And another copy of Lapidary Journal, October 2000, featuring Ames as an inductee to the National Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame.
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