The “Olympic Australis” is reported to be the largest and most valuable gem opal ever found. It was found in 1956 at the famous “Eight Mile” opal field in Coober Pedy, South Wales.
(picture and information courtesy of Altmann & Cherny)
A miner working his claim found the opal at a depth of 30 feet. It was named in honor of the Olympic Games, which were being held in Melbourne at the time. This extraordinary opal consists of 99% gem opal with an even colour throughout the stone, and is one of the largest and most valuable opals ever found. The balance of 1% is the remaining soil still adhering to the stone. It weighs 17,000 carats (3450 grams) and is 11 inches long (280 mm), with a height of 4ľ inches (120 mm) and a width of 4˝ inches (115 mm). It was valued at AUD$2,500,000 in 2005.
Due to the purity of the opal it is anticipated that upwards of 7000 carats could be cut from the piece. However owing to it’s uniqueness, the opal will remain exactly as found.
The “Olympic Australis” has had articles published about it in many countries. It is also featured in numerous tourist publications pertaining to Australia.
This extraordinary gem opal is housed in a special security safe at Altmann & Cherny’s showroom, 128 Exhibition Street, Melbourne and may be viewed during showroom hours.