Australian Gemstones

Australia is considered as one of the largest gemstone markets all over the world, and Australians have received a profound admiration for several fine gemstones. Australia has a strong economy and high-standard of living. Australia generates some exceptional gemstones, specifically Opal, Diamond, Chrysoprase and Sapphire.

Australian Gemstones - Sapphire Australian Gemstones - Opal Australian Gemstones - Pink Diamond

The massive Argyle diamond mineral in Western Australia was first revealed since 1979, and in the late 1980. Australia became the world’s leading producer of natural diamonds, with at least roughly 1/3 of the world production. Still, there are 50% of the production is allotted for industrial graded diamonds.

In addition to, Australia is the most outstanding sources for expensive pink diamonds as well as, sparkling wine and cognac tones. In recent years, Australia starting to take an additional dynamic role for promoting high-valuable, and quality stones such as Sapphires as they produce.

In fact, the history of sapphire stones found in Australia stretched back more than 150 years. One of the initial reports was made since 1851 when sapphire was discovered during the mining of gold on the rivers of Macquarie and Cudgegong rivers in New South Wales.

During 1854, Sapphire was also discovered from the New England district of New South Wales as well as, it was found in Central Queensland in 1875. In fact, other people used sapphire for them to use in designing and making fashionable Australian precious stone jewelry such as emeralds, beryl, rubies, diamonds, and emeralds.

Part of the latest innovation of opal in Ethiopia has uncovered a quality of gemstone that is quite similar particularly in their form and appearance. In fact, one of the gem specialists has stated it to be the best Australian Opal. Moreover, Australia is the only state where Mookite is found, specifically in Western Australia.

However, Agate, Jade, Zircon, and Chrysoprase are also revealed in small quantities. While Opal mining was used to be the most significant gem topic for any Australian bar. Nowadays, the Argyle Diamond Mine found in the north-west Australia is extensive, as well.

Australian Gemstones Australian Gemstones Australian Gemstones

The Diamond mine in the state of Kimberley is believed to be the largest producer of Diamonds all over the world. Aside from being the world’s leading Diamond mine, based on the company website managed by Rio Tintoretto, the Argyle Diamond Mine generates nearly the complete supply of Pink Diamonds.

They also assert to take out roughly 20 million carats of Diamonds every year.When the initial mine was opened in 1985, most of the labor force was take off to the mine weekly from Perth over the period of time, as the mine became well-established, the local districts became more even occupied and most of their workers have relocated, as well.

What is also quite extraordinary about Argyle is that it is considered as one of the few Diamond minerals that are not fully hosted in kimberlite. In addition to, Australia is also one of the important blue Sapphire suppliers all over the world. Unluckily, as supply of the stone has begun to dried, particularly in Thailand and Burma.

Several cutting houses found in Thailand have improperly labeled their stones as deriving from their own country,with such a reason to put down the rising success of the Australian Sapphire. The precious stone was found in the Cudgegong River in 1851 when miners felled across the gem while panning for gold.

With its subversive Opal mines, you can find several establishments such as hotel, souvenir shops, museum, and even churches. As far as mining is concerned, Coober Pedy is actually an exceptional place to go! Nowadays, for the first time in its entire history, Australia became significant part of some famous competition for its national wealth.

Various Australian Gem Deposits

Gem deposits are a considered quite important part of mineral deposits, which producing some various physical environments and appearing in all rocks for all ages thousands of years ago. These Australian deposits are most simply categorized based on the geological milieu in which they have generated.

Magmatic Deposits

Most diamonds are originated from volcanic rocks known as “kimberlite”, which is named after the well-known South African city of Kimberley where those rocks were first depicted. However, lamproite is the host rock mostly from the Argyle diamond mine located in Western Australia, which transpire as vertical pipe-like bodies known as diatremes.

Kimberlite produces from an unstable, volatile, and rich magma that usually creates deep down the Earth. In fact, it is greater than 150 km and expands quickly along the surface with high-fluid pressure. As it increases, it breaks the rocks that used to surrounds with it explosively, as well. Most kimberlite pipes also enclose rich xenoliths from all points of the crust and mantle that the kimberlite has passed through along its way on the surface.

In addition to, kimberlites mainly occur with an old continental, carbonic area of the Earth and vary extensively in all ages several years ago. In addition to, the grade of these diamonds in kimberlites is commonly quite low (only some carats per every stack of rock or over. Also, these rocks have to be processed, as well in order for them to match up with some subtle diamonds.

Furthermore, the Argyle diamond mine, which can be found in the area of Kimberley, in the western part of Australia is also considered as the world’s leading producer of diamonds with approximately around 95% of the diamonds generated with an industrial grade. Still, Argyle generates a quantity of an exceptional and precious pink to red and eye-catching light-brown colors.

Some of the world’s famous, high-quality diamonds are usually originated from different countries such as Africa, Angola, Botswana, Congo, Namibia, Russia, Siberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zaire. Most of these earliest diamonds were originated in Brazil and India. However, Sapphires are considered as neutral, blue, green, pink and yellow gem-quality diversity of the mineral corundum.

They also produced from the deepest part of the Earth’s crust and were carried to the Earth’s surface along the basaltic magmas like xenocrysts. However, they only transpire intermittently in the basalts and are not viable in these rocks. On the other hand, an economic sapphire deposits are can be found, most especially when the basalt is tough and craggy away.

It usually leaves behind the profound minerals such as zircons and sapphires, which become well-concentrated in placer deposits. Other rock-minerals, which generated from magmas consist of: peridot (the high-quality gem, range of olivine that usually established in mantle xenoliths) labradorite feldspar (found as gem-quality grains in some basaltic rocks), while zircon is usually found in basalts.

Hydrothermal Deposits

Most stone that are produced from volatile, rich hydrothermal fluids transpire in pegmatite bodies. Once the fluids become rich in boron, lithium, and high-quality tourmaline is produced. In fact, Aquamarine is described as the blue-green, high-quality range of beryl that is produced with these pegmatites, while heliodor is unusual yellow range, which is quite unusual peach-pink variety.

Other precious stone minerals, which are formed in this environment, comprise with the following: (emeralds, which is in high-quality, green range of beryl), (kunzite, a gem-with deep-pink range of spodumene), (hiddenite, a stone with profound, yellow-green diversity of spodumene), (spessartine garnets), and of course, with the (unusual Caesium-zeolite), and pollucite. Also, a volcanic opal also produces from hydrothermal-fluids.

On the other hand, though volcanic opal encloses with a beautiful color-play, it also compromises with various inclusions of water and ruptures easily. It is not often utilized as a precious stone, as well. The biggest deposits of volcanic opal transpire usually in countries such as Ethiopia. Most of these ancient deposits of opal originated from volcanic rocks of Slovakia and were cultivated from the last 2500 years.

Some significant stones, which produced from some hydrothermal fluids in volcanic environments, include different varieties of silica such as agates, amethyst, chalcedony, and petrified wood. However, turquoise is considered as a solid, blue-green phosphate deposit, which is originated from a low-temperature fluid, typically by the weathering of pre-existing, sedimentary phosphate minerals.

Turquoise has been cultivated 4000 years ago and was predominantly valued by some ancient Persians and Egyptians. In fact, most of the turquoise nowadays is mined from the western part of USA. Most of small turquoise deposits transpire along the northern Victoria located in the Narooma-Bodalla area near the New South Wales south coastline, and at Amaroo station found in the northern region.

Metamorphic Deposits

The only jewels minerals are usually appearing in metamorphic deposits include zoisite, emerald, garnet, tanzanite, and ruby. In fact, rubies are available in high-quality red diversity of corundum. However most of these rubies exist with in high-grade metamorphic stones such as marbles and gneisses, as well.

The leading manufacturer of high-quality rubies located in Burma. Though some of these rubies are quite connected with sapphires in basaltic rocks, these transpire as xenocrysts, which were formerly originated from high-grade metamorphic rocks in the lower part of crust, and carried on the surface through the basaltic magmas.

Some of the world’s emeralds are produced from low-grade carbonaceous schist in Colombia, South America. In Australia, emeralds transpire within biotite schists found in Western Australia, and inside pegmatites in the New England area of New South Wales. Other stones, which transpire in metamorphic stones, consist of iolite, which is considered as high-quality, purple range of titanite, kyanite, and cordierite.

In fact, jade is a specific word provided to a tough, solid aggregates of two different minerals, jadeite (a pyroxene), and nephrite (a given term to a cluster of amphibole minerals. They transpire in an extensive range of colors, although the green diversity is the well-known. Jade is produced exclusively with sets of metamorphic rocks. The biggest jade deposit is found in Australia, which exports millions of tons of nephrite jade annually to Asia.

Sedimentary Deposits

By far, the most expensive stone produced in sedimentary environments is the valuable opal. The biggest deposits of this usually transpire all through the central part of the Australia along the western, New South Wales, south-western part of Queensland, and central into northern Australia, which is known as the “Great Artesian Basin”. Most of these opal deposits usually occur with fine-grained stones during the Cretaceous period.

Some of these gem-quality opals transpire as an absolute substitute for fossil shells, dinosaurs such as the well-known plesiosaur skeleton of Eric and belemnites, which is significant part of fossil squid, and glauberite stones, which is known as “opal pineapples’. Most of these opal deposits also occur as an alternative bed surrounded by the sedimentary rocks.

In addition to, the opal-bearing perspective is quite irregular and so, cultivating for opal is also considered as a disheartening role at times. Most of these opal horizons are quite few centimeters through their in entire width, and most usually, the opal occurs as tiny pods known as “knobbies”.

Placer Deposits

Due to their stiffness and resistance to weathering and corrosion, most of the stones are comparatively profuse within some placer deposits. Most of these sapphires mined from eastern Australia, which transpire in placer deposits where they can develop concentration through alluvial technique. Other significant gemstones, which usually transpire in placer-type deposits, include agates, garnets, diamonds, rubies, zircons, topaz, and fossilized wood.

Australian Opals

Opal is described as a hardened-gel, which consists of water and silica (typically from 6 – 10%. Its physical features diverge with their entire differences through their composition as well as, their water content. Not like with other deposits, opal is quite formless, with no specific crystal formation.

In addition to, Opal is an ordinary mineral, which can be found in several countries and different geological environments. In order to differentiate this usual opalfrom the valuable opal utilized in jewelry, we can refer itas a common opal. In fact, this common opal is basically available in grey, brown, and sometimes with opaque white tone.

Intermittently, it also appears in blue, green, orange, pink, and yellow. Most of an eye-catching color is made from semi-transparent material that can be even cut into faceted or even cabochons. In fact, Hyaliteis translucent, neutral opals that can be quite similar to glass, which is known as “Potch”, specifically witha grey, common opal that can be found on some Australian opal fields.

Furthermore, it has been roughly estimated that some of Australia’s opal is potch, and some valuable opal covers only a small proportion from the total number. Some of the composition of this opal Common opal has no particular “play of color”. Its formation is not quite ordinary, and its silica spheres can even be different in terms of their dimension.

When the width of a silica sphere goes above from 333 nanometers (a nanometer is measured as 1 millionth of a millimeter, nm), diffracts only with an infrared area of the range, and the outcome has no definite play of color. Some opal is regularly occurs in blue, green, and many more.

When people articulate about opal, it generally means asa precious opal. In fact, Opal has been full of mystery over the centuries. No two different opals are quite comparable. In fact, the term “opal” was originated from a Greek term “opallos”, which means “to distinguish changes of color.

Based on the MOH’s hardness scale, it normally measures 5.5-6.5. Also, it is a birthstone for October. Opal was dated back since 1849 where it was established at a cattle station named Tarrawilla, which is near Angaston with at least 80 kilometers outside Adelaide located in Australia.

Almost, 95% of the opal is established in Australia. A small quantity is usually found in several countries such as Brazil, Mexico, and USA. In fact, there are three different significant opal mining areas in Australia that generate various types of opal. Moreover, valuable opal displays a distinctive effect known as “play of color”.

It has also a unique pattern of shadow-like tones that occurs all across the stone, especially when it moves. Most of some eye-catching patterns are quite colorful names such as pinfire, mosaic, flame, and harlequin. Chinese writing flash and ribbon is a name given into a light or dark, based on its body nature.

Since black and dark opals present the strongest distinction into a radiant color, as they are quite expensive. For the composition of a valuable opal, using electronic microscopic has discovered that valuable opal, which encloses a regular, 3-dimensional grid of amorphous, hydrated-silica spheres and they are quite uniform through their dimension and divided through tiny voids.

The reverse refractive indices of voids and spheres generate a 3-dimensional diffraction grating, which divides into white-light into its shadowy colors. These rays of particular wavelengths partly cover; reinforce some tones, and cancelling other process known as “intrusion”.

The mixture of diffraction as well as, intrusion produces a structure of shadow-like tones, which referred as “play of color”. The dimension of the silica spheres identifies several colors, as well. The smallest dimensions refract only with an ultraviolet energy. The diameter of the spheres usually expands up to 138 nm.

They can also diffract with noticeable light in the shortest wave-length, which generates purple color. As the sphere diameter expands, green, blue, and other colors come out. Huge spheres, which measures 241 nm generate red as well as, several colors with shorter wavelength.

Opals that contain red are the most colorful and usually the most valuable. Small dislocations in the regular stacking of silica spheres create bounded areas of color that change with the angle of incidence of light. Color patterns that shift across the stone lend each opal its unique character.

In order to enhance the pattern of their colors, opals are well-cut and polished into a cabochon.Furthermore, other types of precious opal such as crystal opalare transparent to semi-transparent with play of color throughout. Fine crystal opal comes from Mintabie, South Australia.

Boulder opalis described as thin layer of valuable opal that is inseparable from its ironstone template, producing a natural doublet. It is cut into forms that pursue its usual fold. It is typically mostly found only in Queensland. Matrix opalhas infiltrated tiny veins, and patches all through its ironstone atmosphere.

It is well-polished together with the milieu to create decorative pieces.Australia gives about 95% of the world’s valuable opal. Small amount ties of precious opal are usually found in different places such as USA, Brazil, and Mexico. Along New South Wales and Lightning Ridge, they supply massive quantity of black opal.

New South Wales and White Cliffs produce light opal. Both fields have generated opalised, fine fossils, which produced when opal occupied holes left by the shells, bones, wood, and other minerals. Opal is also usually found in cavities from volcanic rocks mostly at Dubbo and Tintenbar.

Meanwhile, in South Australia, valuable opal is cultivated at Mintabie, Andamooka, and Coober Pedy. Latest mining areas keep on to be recognized in several states of the world. Boulder opal is usually found in some area of western Queensland. This vividly, colored opal produces a thin layer of ironstone matrix.

Yowah and Quilpie are famous centers of boulder opal mining. Since opal encloses with water, it may break once it is exposed to an impulsive or severe changes in temperature or wetness. In fact, Coober Pedy is well-known for Milky or White. Today, opal fields include an area roughly 45 kilometers.

Andamooka is usually located from southwest of Coober Pedy in callous, arid region country. Andamooka is considered as one of Australia’s most well-known opal fields, which produced some of the most striking pieces of opal. In fact, the opal fields around Andamooka generate top precious stone, gem, light-opal, and dark opal, as well.

Opal typically occurs in both volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Opal as part of the Australia’s National Gemstone is highly-prized and it is exceptionally precious in monitory terms. Opal is usually best described as unstructured silica, a harden jelly that has no gem structure.

It usually encloses with 13% water. Valuable opal reproduces radiance with a play of luminous tones across the noticeable range of red, which being the most treasured. These tones flash and vary as the stone is seen from different way. This is based on the minute voids and other interior impurities.

Opal is characteristically found as enclosing with even lenses, or with thin layers, while considerable pieces are quite unusual. If you see a lean, but a supporting coating of the hard-mother rock, you will obtain Opal-doublets, which are normally used nowadays for massive created jewelry.

These are jewel combinations enclosing with a surface from millimeter, thin Opal plates, which have been consisted of artificial, black glass, Obsidian, Onyx, and Potch-Opal. Triplets have been produced from this style where the Opal layer receives an extra cover either from Rock Crystal, or Hard Glass, as well.

Due to the conflicting amount of water, Opals become fragile. They always enclose water usually between from 2-6%, but sometimes quite even more. So, once Opal stored too arid or exposed with heat over a long period of time, Opals will display cracks and its play of color become soft.

Thus, Opal jewelry must be worn as much as possible, for then, the jewel will obtain the required moisture from the air, and from the skin of its user. During earlier days, Opal’s receptive surface was often lubricated, but nowadays, they must be sealed with neutral, synthetic resin, which is quite popular.

Opal’s Physical Properties:

Chemistry: Hydrated silica

Hardness: 5.5 - 6.5

Luster: Resinous to vitreous

Refractive Indicator: 1.44 - 1.46

Specific Magnitude: 1.98 - 2.20

Was this article helpful?

A-Z Of Gemstones

A-Z Of Gemstones

A-Z Of Gemstones
82 articles
Additional Gemstone Information

Additional Gemstone Information

Additional Gemstone Information
44 articles
Birthstones By Month

Birthstones By Month

Our list of birthstones by month will help you understand what each birthstone means and why they make thoughtful and beautiful gifts.
12 articles
Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Did You Know?
12 articles
Gemrockauctions Verified Sellers

Gemrockauctions Verified Sellers

Gemrockauctions Verified Sellers
3 articles
Gemstone Stories

Gemstone Stories

Gemstone Stories
5 articles
Holistic Gemstone Information

Holistic Gemstone Information

Holistic Gemstone Information
11 articles
How To's

How To's

How To's
8 articles


News and events on
30 articles
Technical Information on Gemstones

Technical Information on Gemstones

Technical Information on Gemstones
17 articles


Comments from happy customers
1 articles

Hello! Gem Rock Auctions is a global marketplace offering beautiful gemstones from professional gemstone cutters, dealers & miners. Register for $10 off your first purchase.