Thursday, August 25, 2016

Natural Black Opal from Ethiopia - Wollo Opal

The buzz in opals these days is for gemstones from a new source in Ethiopia, discovered in 2008 near Wegel Tena, Wollo Province. The mine produces mostly white, translucent opal, much of which has vivid play-of-colour.

Researchers found the crystal opal produced at the deposits in Wollo was being darkened via a smoke treatment to resemble natural black opal.
The stones “turned out to be colour enhanced using an older method, but certainly a new method for the Ethiopian hydrophane material,” says Williams. “The nature of hydrophane allows this treatment to deeply penetrate the stone"

"Black opal is the rarest and most desirable colour of opal says Williams. A few places produce natural coloured black opal, most notably Lightning Ridge, Australia, and Mintabie in South Australia.” There’s been no natural black opal reported from Ethiopia.
Dealers say the Wollo Province opal, compared to similar white play-of-color Australian goods, is selling at steep 30 percent to 50 percent discounts.