|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.|