Precious Opal with an "eye" effect
Description:Recently, the Wello (Wollo) locality in Ethiopia has produced some exceptional precious Opal specimens and gemstones. The highly desirable "Contra Luz" play of color and large "harlequin" patterning that can be seen in the top gems and specimens is comparable to the best of Mexican Opals and even resembles color patterns seen in Australian gems. Opal is one of those minerals that looks as beautiful and impressive when it is opaque as when it is water clear. The amazing range of this material (considering the simplistic chemistry) makes it a cool mineral, and that's saying a lot considering the species does not even have any crystal form !! This piece features a very attractive section of Precious Opal with a notable "eyeball" effect that is highlighted by flashes of gold, yellow, orange, green and blue. Despite the smaller size, this piece has great color and form, and could end up being a great bargain for one of you lucky bidders out there who do not have a piece of this material in your collection. The following was taken from the article on mindat by Jon Young from last year: "This newly discovered Opal found in the Welo Amhara Regional State Highland plateau 2.500 3.200 meters above sea level of Ethiopia is a new find that is quickly gaining the attention of the opal community. This opal was the hit of the recent Tucson international gem show. Welo opal requires a mountain of patience and some special cutting techniques but the finished result is every bit as stable as the better known Australian opals. The color is brilliant and rivals any top grade opal in the world. Most have a brightness level of at least 4 to 5 on the brightness scale with hot neon multi-color and multiple pattern mix. Welo opal is not generally classified as contra luz opal although I have seen a few. The color play is face up and in a lot of cases, as bright in artificial indoor light as it is in direct sunlight. This opal just loves any light source. This is hydrophane opal which when soaked in water allows the base color to clear up...sometimes highlighting the play-of-color, sometimes making it vanish. The best trait of the Welo hydrophane opal is that when it's dry and polished it can be one of the brightest opals in the world. From my experience, the Welo opal is as stable as the best of all that I have cut in the last 10 years. It can take twice as long to cut a finished stone, but the visual rewards are well worth the time. Different types of opals require specialty care for the beauty you enjoy... Welo opal is no different. No chemicals or detergents...If soaked in water, it will take one to two weeks to completely dry out and return to its original beautiful state. Do not try and accelerate the drying by any artificial means. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning for any opals. Gondar and Wollo (Welo) are not regarded as desert at all it is on the Abyssinian highland plateau of Amhara Proper, Amhara Regional State. The Welo opal is found in the same type of geological formations as the Australian opal. Welo opal is the most stable opal find in Ethiopia to date. Ethiopian Opals are region specific in character traits just like Australian opals. The Ethiopian Government does not own any mines. All land is owned by the government: In Amhara it is administrated by the Regional State who does not allow mining by others than registered and licensed farmer co-operatives.