Today I'd like to discuss with you about new source of opal from Welo or Wello, Ethiopia. Once in a decade that a new discovery of gems presents an opportunity to buy extremely high quality stone at very low price. This has been the case in the past with many gems including Peridot from Pakistan in 2001, Bi-color tourmaline from Brazil in the early 1990s, sapphire from Madagascar in 1997. Just to name a few..
When they're found for a couple years they're very expensive because the quantity available. As with most finds the quality is finite and as quickly as they just it is founded disappears and the price in plates rapidly. The situation is compounded as we see more material on the market the popularity increases because at this exposure to the public. And its demand also inflates prices.
Today we have one of those unique opportunities to buy extraordinary opal from Welo Ethiopia. Discovered in 2008 the quality is finer than any I've purchased from Australia. Up until now, Ethiopia is considered to be the finest opal source.
This Ethiopian opal is top crystal material meaning is has high transparency, generally considered to be the finest quality of opal.
High degree of transparency in Ethiopian opal allows you to facet, carve or cab this Ethiopian opals. The colors are evenly spread through the entire gem and the intensity the color is unreal. as they seem to float in the gem and project from the surface. The number of colors in a single piece is only rarely seen in Australian material and occasionally we can see violet which is so unusual on opal from any source. The color patterns are highly varied; the large sizes available also make this material unique. We have cut gems over 40 carats with the average finish stone weight over five carats.
Much for the materials hydrophane mean it can soak up water. If placed in water the opal material from Welo Ethiopia will become glass clear. And when removed it will get milky and after several days material will return to its original beauty.
What this means is you shouldn't swim with it, while washing your hands will have little effect to your Ethiopian opal. The benefit of this Ethiopian opal is that the riskiest part of traditional opals from other sources is drying out in cracking called crazing, whereas, this material will not craze from drying out.
One way to identify hydrophane opal is a characteristic of feeling sticky to the tongue or your finger. This characteristic also affects the weight which can change with humidity.
The hydrophane ability of this Ethiopian opal has brought the charlatans out for trying to change the colors of the opals to use of dies and smoke treatments. We have seen violet, and orange fire colors from dying and although black opals occurred naturally in Ethiopia.
Many are enhanced to black color with smoke treatments. The color can and often enhanced by enameling the back of the Opal which enhances the color of the Ethiopian opal that are highly transparent. This treatment is easily removed and has its benefits. This is an acceptable practice, assuming it is stated when sold.
Toughness is another characteristic of Ethiopian opal which outperforms opal from other locations. Test by the Gemological Institute of America have shown that this opal is capable withstanding drops to concrete from four feet without damage. All other sources failed this drop test. Welo Ethiopian opal is unique, durable, and currently plentiful and we highly recommend this gem as a best buy at this time.