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Gallery of Fine Opal


Fabulous opal gems artfully cut
from the very finest Australian keystones.

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Just a teaser !

This is a fabulous piece of Andamooka treated matrix opal.
It is the exact size of a US nickel.
It has multiple pictorial faces, each as bright and rich as this one.
There is another view in the Gallery.

The Gallery has more pictures, some are BIG,
but don't miss the Genie at the end...

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An apology for beauty.

Please understand that in most cases, the pictures in the Gallery are of stones that are of exceptional rarity. Although it is possible to buy such material, you should understand that the price for such quality is far above even the higher priced material in the pricing guides.



Although we can hardly resist showing the opal regardless of its origin, most of the stones in the gallery passed through the hands of Australian Opal Mines. Some of these may already be in the treasuries of great women. Many are still available.

Enquiries should be sent to Murray.


Here is an index of the pages and additional images :

Note that some of these sequences may be very large, but seldom are more than 1MB. On a low speed modem, they will take a few minutes to download. But they're worth it !

If you haven't loaded your browser with the new QuickTime software, then you'll want to do so. All you have to do is go to the QuickTime site and download the free software for either Macintosh or PC.

  • Here are the QuickTime movies: (read how they were done)

  • QuickTime movie of Big Red ! (about 870 KBytes)
    This was taken before the stone was set as a necklace (gallery page 2). Only a movie like this can show the incredible beauty of this stone. This was taken in the silvery early morning sunlight.

  • Another QuickTime movie of Big Red ! (about 770 KBytes)
    Like the one above, but this one was taken in the very last rays of sunset. Together, these two movies show how different the opal behaves in different light.

  • A movie after Big Red was set! It's BIG (about 7 MegaBytes, Right-Click and Save Target As...)
    This one was taken in the lights of a jewelry store, but still shows the wonderful variation and yet consistent color play.

  • The A and E channel did a movie about the lifestyle of Palm Beach.
    In it, they featured Big Red as 'What do they spend their money on... ?'

    It's BIG (about 15 MegaBytes, Right-Click and Save Target As...)

    This is taken directly from the movie...

  • A QuickTime movie of a beautiful ringstone of Olympic crystal. (about 1.1 MBytes)
    This is taken in morning sunlight, and shows the brilliant fire of a stone which was cut across the fire bars. Quite a departure from the normal ... !

  • A QuickTime movie of a large specimen of un-cut and un'cooked' Andamooka matrix opal. (about 290 KBytes)
    This is taken under the light of a single 100w bulb. The stone was over 4 ounces, and the fire was this evident before cooking, with only water wiped on the surface.

  • A QuickTime movie of a splendid specimen of Andamooka matrix opal after it has been treated. (about 1.1 MBytes)
    This is not the same stone as the previous one. Videos of the untreated stage of this stone will be published later. This is taken under the light of a single 100w bulb, with the light control of the camera set to the very lowest aperature. If it weren't 'shut down', the camera would overload with the color spectrum. The stone is just over 1000 carats, about the size of a large fist. It is such a splendid specimen of Andamooka treated matrix, that it would have been a crime to cut it. It has every color in every kind of pattern...

  • These are simple frame by frame animations which should take no special software to view:

  • Animated sequence of a fine 26 ct pendant of Mintabie crystal
    The stone is being turned back and forth, and the single lamp is held still.

  • This is a single frame of the group that is in the following animation.
  • Animated sequence of a collection of various types of opal (BIG)
    This is hardly a crisp image of the opal. Here the stones are being held still, and the single lamp is being moved from the left to the right and back. Concentrate on one stone at a time. After a few repetitions, you will begin to get a feel for the explosion of the fire and brilliance.


  • Some of these are direct pointers to the tour pages of the gallery, but some are just 'orphans' without much of a description.

  • The Genie. Unbelievable but true.

  • 4 views of a crisp multicolor Lightning Ridge Black Opal.

  • A fabulous 207 carat necklace of multicolor plate crystal.

  • The "Suite Mintabie"
  • Andamooka treated matrix opal:
  • An Icy Blue crystal oval.

  • A large parcel of fabulous Mintabie crystal rough.

  • Fabulous Mintabie green orange crystal.

  • Three great Mintabie stones.

  • Another group of Mintabie seam crystal.

  • Crystal oval (12cts) with an interesting picture of Big Bird and Barney on the back !
    See what you want, but it's brilliant and interesting...

  • A beautiful semi-crystal oval, 9cts (large, with rivers of colors)

  • A very lovely brooch of the finest crystal opal.

  • A beautiful necklace of opal beads!

  • Close up of a gorgeous bolo tie rectangle.

  • Beautiful large boulder opal pieces.




  • How these pictures and movies were made:

    With the greatest of care for fidelity. Certainly, these are the best samples of many attempts, but in all cases, any modification of the original image was done with the stone in hand, and with only slight color correction on the still images. No alterations of the movies have been made other than to compress the original raw selection. For this reason (for now), they will appear somewhat 'amateur-ish', but most opal lovers would prefer it that way...

    None of these examples comes close to adequately portraying the original opal. Even the videos cannot really convey the stunning brilliance of some stones, nor the rich depth of color of others. Cameras will get better, and the software will improve, but in all of these 'raw' images your own eyes will compensate best for color correction and lighting.

    Update : We now have a Nikon CoolPix 950 digital camera, and it has more than 7 times the resolution of the Apple camera, and a fantastic 'macro' focus feature as well. I will probably go back and re-take many of the pictures in the gallery. I've done two of the 'Genie' already. See above.

    All of the still pics were taken with a simple Apple QuickTake 200 digital camera, and all of the movies were captured using a Hi-8 SVHS Sony video camera, and later playing the clips into a Macintosh G3/266Mhz using the AV capabilities of that machine.

    Each of the video clips here was captured using no real-time compression, to preserve in a raw form the most frames per second possible (30fps). Then the raw clip was trimmed so as to show the least redundancy. The selection was then compressed by the 'Sorenson' codec in QuickTime 4, reducing its size greatly.

    The movies are best played if you save them to your disk, and then when you're offline, they're most satisfying with no other programs running . These were also edited so that it is best to set your Internet Browser or Movie Player so that it loops back-and-forth, and with the option set to 'play all frames'. Since there is no audio track, the time-skew will not be noticable.

  • Please enjoy these pictures, but do remember that they are all copyrighted, and no frame or sequence of these files may be published or transmitted indirectly without the express permission of Australian Opal Mines.

  • If there's enough interest, we may produce a DVD or CD-ROM with lots more still frames, and movie files. If you have any interest in this, please let us know by telling Murray what you would like.

    Copyright 2010, Australian Opal Mines. All rights reserved.

    Last modified: September 21, 2007
    Murray Willis