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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Jewelry > Gemstones > Opals > Famous Opals > Aurora Australis


Famous Opals
> The Andamooka Opal (The Queen's Opal)
> Aurora Australis
> The Black Prince
> The Butterfly Stone
> The Flame Queen
> Halley's Comet
> Jupiter Five
> Olympic Australis
> Pride of Australia
> The Virgin Rainbow
Buying Guide for Opals
> Opal Store USA
> Birthstone for October (modern); alternate for June
> Care for Opals
> Cutting Opals
> Opal Store Amazon USA
> Opal shop Australia
> Glossary of Terms
> Investing in Opals - The Value of Opals as an Investment
> Lapidary Information
> Buy Opals Australia
History of Opals and Opal Mining
> Australian Museum National Opal Collection
> Australian Museum researches opalised fossil
> Fossicking in NSW
> Fossils, opalised fossils, sea snails and shells
> Legendary Opal Miners
> Opal Legends
> Opal Mines
> Mining Opals in Wyoming USA
> Opal Links
Types of Opal
> Black Opal
> Boulder Opal
> Crystal Opal
> Fire Opal
> Matrix Opal
> White Opal
> Yowah Nuts
> Opal Doublets
> Opal Triplets
> Opal Jewelry
Australian Opal Mines
> Andamooka Mines, SA
> Coober Pedy, SA
> Lightning Ridge, NSW
> Mintabie or Mintabee, SA
> Opalton, Qld
> Quilpie, Qld
> White Cliffs, NSW
> Winton, Qld
> Yowah, Qld

Gem & Jewelry Pocket Guide:
A Traveler's Guide to Buying Diamonds, Colored Gems, Pearls, Gold and Platinum Jewelry

by Renee Newman

Famous Opals

Stop Press! Stop Press! Stop Press!
 The famous Virgin Rainbow Black Opal is for sale here!

"Aurora Australis"

 The "Aurora Australis" was found in 1938 at Lightning Ridge and is considered the world's most valuable black opal.

Aurora Australis Opal
(information courtesy of Altmann & Cherny)

 The oval, cut and polished stone has a harlequin pattern with dominant red, green and blue colors against a black background.

 It weighs 180 carats and it measures 3 inches by 1.8 inches. The rarity of the opal comes from its size and strong, vibrant colour play.

 Dug from an old sea-bed it has the distinctive impression of a star fish on its back. It was valued at AUD$1,000,000 in 2005. 

 The Aurora Australis is the first large, fine Australian opal mentioned in literature. Charlie Dunstan had found another large opal previously, but its blue-green colour play was not considered valuable at the time although the stone weighed about 12 ounces (close to 1860 carats).

 At a depth of approximately six metres, Charlie Dunstan found the brilliant gem. This treasure was rumored to have brought Dunstan 100 pounds.

  Altmann & Cherny purchased the opal in a semi-rough state (a rub). They cut and polished the opal into its oval shape. Realising what a true gem they had, they named it “the Aurora Australis “ after the bright southern lights in the night sky. 

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