Move over Australian Opal there is a new King ready to take the throne. For more than 100 years the dominant key player in the world of gemstones when it comes to Opal has been Australia but now there is a new kid on the block in the way of Ethiopia. The excitement started with a small discovery in 1994, it wasn't until 2008 that a more significant source in the country was discovered.
The Wollo Province of northern Ethiopia is now producing exquisite gemmy crystal Opals with a kaleidoscope of bright intense neon colors that quite frankly puts most Australian to shame. Most Ethiopian Opal is high in transparency and is very clean. Clean enough to be faceted rather just being cut into traditional cabochons; Making them especially unique to the Opal market. Lastly, not only are Ethiopian Opal colorful and crystalline but they are a hydrophane opal.
Now, what on Earth is a hydrophane Opal and why should you care, you may ask. Well, a hydrophane material means it can soak up and absorb water. If placed in water for an extended period the opal will become even more clear. Once removed after a short time it retains its normal transparency and full colorful beauty. Just washing your hands will have no effect what so ever on the gem. This wonderful scientific effect is a benefit over one of the riskiest parts of owning a traditional Opal from other sources is the gems drying out and cracking or called crazing in the gem trade. The Ethiopian material will not craze from drying out.
When compared to the price market of Australian, it's a no brainer that the new Ethiopian gems are a steal. It's only a matter of time as more people become aware of these beautiful gems that the price market catches up. This affordable price option for top quality Opals will then becomes a thing of the past. Top-quality Australian Crystal Opals with excellent play of color can fetch up to $2,000 U.S. dollars per carat, Where the newly sourced Ethiopians of equal quality are at between $10-$250 U.S. dollars per carat. Which is practically unheard of for the beautiful precious gem.
My recommendations to anyone looking to buy a beautiful Opal or to even make a great investment is to pick up some Ethiopian Opals now before they are gone. The Ethiopian source has proven to show it is limited, however and with the quality of Opals getting less and more scarce all the time it's only gonna make the demand chain reflect in their prices significantly. Check out Gemstone Collectors U.S. for all our outstanding breathtaking Ethiopian Opal pieces today and don't miss out on getting a good deal. Don't forget Opal is October's birthstone and is the traditional gemstone gift for the 34th marriage anniversary.
Zachary Sutton, G.I.A. G.G.
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