Stunning Light Crystal Opal--The Largest Polished Opal to be Offered at Public Auction--"The Tempest Opal"
Seven Waterholes Mine, Lambina Cattle Station, South Australia
In a remote region of South Australia, opal was first discovered at Lambina during the depression years of the early 1930s. A minor rush occurred in the 1980s following discoveries by some miners at Seven Waterholes diggings. A discovery of high quality stones in 1996 led to a renewed rush of claims being made, however, before many of these claims could be processed, the Wik native title decision halted any new mining. In December 1997, miners were informed that a native title claim would be lodged over the entire Mintabie area. Negotiations between miners and native title holders since then have allowed mining to continue. Lambina now supports a population of around 300 and produces a major portion of South Australia's opalspecimens retrieved from this locality are known as "Lambina Opal".
The present opal, found in 2001, was left dry for six years before polishing to ensure its stability. Technically speaking, it is classed as "light opal", (a designation which is a better quality than "white" opal)which is a category between "white" and "crystal" opal in value. Polished on all sides, it is a large cabinet or desk-sized free-form specimen. The face predominates in flashes of neon orange, intermingled with electric blue, vivid lime green, and yellow as well as flashes of purple. The reverse side reveals a swirling pattern of electric blue and green--prompting the owners to name it the "Tempest Opal". Bands of color on the sides are a testament to the sedimentary nature of the mineral. Such a gem-quality specimen, of boulder size weighing the better part of 5000 carats, is unheard of in today's market; gems such as this, with color on both sides and without fractures, are very rare.
Weighing approximately 4801.5 carats and measuring 6 1/4 x 4 1/2 x 1 3/4in