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The Amazing Butte Opal: An Ocean In Stone

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posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 12:58 AM
I stumbled upon some pictures of this amazing opal today and thought I'd share:

Here's a bit about the opal and where it was found:

Opal is a unique gem that is found primarily in Australia. The national gemstone of the country, opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica. The water content of an opal can range from 3% to 21% and is commonly found alongside limonate, sandstone, marl, rhyolite and basalt.

While Australia produces over 97% of the worlds supply of opal today, there was a rare find in the state of Oregon recently. It had been over a century since opal was found in the forested land, yet this stunning specimen was found there, and when combined with light creates what seems to be a magical underwater scene from the ocean. The gem, which is owned by Inna Gem, is named the Opal Butte, which is derived from the name of a mine that existed in 1890s Oregon. Regarding the Opal Butte mine, Nature of the Northwest says:
“It has been more than 100 years since opal was found in Oregon. When the discovery was made public in the 1890s miners flocked to Opal Butte… When it was discovered that the supply of material at Opal Butte was limited, commercial mining operations shut down and the site became the province of rockhounds… The land has changed hands a number of times in the past six years. The new land owners are no longer able to provide a site for digging.”
Source - Visual News

Opals are known to change color and opacity, depending on whether they are wet or dry. When soaked in water, the base color of an opal can become extremely clear, though this is bound to change in a few weeks' time as it dries out. Thus, the images presented are of the crystal in its dry state for viewers to get an idea of what it will really look like without any future surprises. The seller says, "This material has hydrophane properties and can be greatly enhanced when soaked in water, but I don’t believe that accurately portrays the opal being offered."
source - My Modern Met

From Inna Gem's auction page:

This gem has all faceted faces and contains some really neat matrix inclusions. The mix of of facets, color plays, and minerals creates an almost mystical or "underwater" like scene within.

This has been a finished, faceted gem for over a decade now, and none of the cracks that you can see have developed in that time.
Mining at opal butte is slowing down and as of the last year opal of this quality were literally unseen. The forecast for finding any more precious opal there is not looking good. I have acquired several of these pieces and have decided to let this one go.

Base- Crystal

Measures: 60x45x41 mm

Weight: 740 ct

Color Play: Plays of blue, red, orange, yellow, and green.

The current buy now price looks to be $5400 which seems reasonable when you consider that while a $5400 diamond might sparkle and impress, this stone is a thing of wonder.

posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 01:51 AM
reply to post by theantediluvian

Stunning!! Brings new meaning to the term 'opulent!' No one does art like Ma Nature,
Nice find, and as an Oregonian, my interest is peaked. I have been meaning to check out the mines, but it is expensive to go.

posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 02:09 AM

Nice find! That first pic was glorious

posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 02:24 AM
That is one gem I have always wanted in a piece of jewelry but haven't gotten yet. There are great deals online sometimes but I'd like to see the color variations in person.

The big one in the photos is just beautiful!
edit on 14-12-2013 by Night Star because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 07:58 AM
reply to post by theantediluvian

If the auction price actually stays around $5,400 this is a steal. I've seen stupid diamonds going for thirty thousand and more (a sucker is now born every 30 seconds, owing to global population increase), and this masterpiece of nature may just fetch a few thousand? Great pics, and that's a beautiful stone.

posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 09:55 AM
reply to post by theantediluvian

Opals are an interesting material. But it is NOT stone. Nor is it really a crystal strictly speaking.

Opal is essentially fossilized water. The chemical composition is mostly hydrated silica gel(Silica heated to melting point and cooling in alluvial deposits trapping water inside). It's structure does not follow the typical matrices of crystals found in nature or in the lab.

The structure of the atoms are not ordered in a particular pattern like most crystals.

Your standard baseline structures are triclinic, rhombohedral, cubic, hexagonal, tetragonal, monoclinic, orthorhombic.

Opal has an amorphous structure and has a water content to it. While it is beautiful in jewelry applications, if opal is not kept in water it will begin to crack as it dries out over time.

It's also not very hard stuff. About a 5 on the mohs scale I think.

Sorry...I love gemology. Had to chime in.

posted on Dec, 14 2013 @ 10:08 AM
reply to post by theantediluvian

Whoops. The auction ended in March, 2011.

The opal is well stored away or displayed somewhere now. Or dropped and broken, or thrown into the sea like that "Titanic" chick did to throw away a fortune.

A nice find though, although I have to re-email a gemologist I know who I wrote and linked this thread, suggesting that he buy it for himself or for one of his clients.

(post by Dhanshreegems removed for a serious terms and conditions violation)

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