Hydrophane Opal
Lot 1207
Hydrophane Opal
Sold for US$ 7,500 inc. premium
Auction Details
Hydrophane Opal
Lot Details
Property of a Mid-West Collector

Hydrophane Opal
570 km north of Addis Ababa, Wello, Delanta Plateau, Tigray, Ethiopia
This is an excellent precious opal from the leading local mine found in Wello province, Delanta region, around 2700 ft above sea level and 570 km northwest of the capital city Addis Ababa. Discovered in 2008 gem crystal and hydrophane opal from Wello, Ethiopia has recently come to the international market. Mined only by the local farmers who are currently banding together to form small mining cooperatives, the Ethiopian Ministry of Mining and Energy is making efforts to train them on mining safety, polishing, and market conditions. Found in volcanic rock and frequently in rhyolite deposits Wello opals are described by the Gemological Institute of America as being similar in appearance to opals from Australia or Brazil.

Mineralogically speaking Wello opal is very different from Australian opal. Australian opal is formed of silicon spheres stacked one on top of the other, creating a diffraction grating that disperses light entering the opal. The Wello material, on the other hand, has no spheres, but instead possesses a totally different structure altogether. The color display patterns range from rolling holographic orbs and dots to sheet, to flagstone to broadflash, to rolling ribbons and threads and exhibit some wave-like patterns as well.

Wello material is hydrophane opal that is porous—a Wello opal put in water may siphon up the water through capillary action, which usually causes the beautiful neon colors to disappear. Once the opal is taken out of the water and placed on something absorbent, and the water will seep out, and the colors make their appearance again as the opal dries.

The present stone is a pear-shaped crystal opal that displays a brilliant flagstone pattern play-of-color in with a full range of spectral hues appearing within the bright white body.
Weighing approximately 26.39 carats and measuring 26.5 x 24.0 x 7.5mm
Activities
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    Auction Administration - Natural History
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