Australia is known for its opals, and in 2003 an opal miner named John Dunstan was mining in the remote outback town of Coober Pedy when he discovered what would prove to be the finest specimen of opal that has ever been seen. Named the Virgin Rainbow for its amazing and varied colors and iridescences, Dunstan said after he took it home and began to clean it, the variety of colorations started to reveal themselves and did so more and more as he worked on it.
Adelaide’s South Australia Museum will soon be exhibiting the opal along with many other beautiful opals in celebration of the centenary of opal mining in Australia.
Opals have existed since dinosaurs roamed the earth and are many millions of years in the making. Consisting of silica and water, and created by weather processes over the course of roughly 70 million years, the Virgin Rainbow has an estimated value of over $500,000. Some estimates have it as high as one million dollars.
Dunstan, the opal’s discoverer, says he has never seen another opal that compares to the Virgin Rainbow. Each time he looks at it he sees more colors, and he even stated that he has seen it glow in the dark, like a phosphorescent material. These qualities make the Virgin Rainbow an extraordinary find, and one of world’s most prized gemstones.
An opal with the rare beauty of the Virgin Rainbow comes along once in a lifetime. Australia, already proud of its history in opal mining, is thrilled to have unearthed this fabulous stone, and the exhibit where it will be featured is sure to attract thousands of visitors; the curious and the collectors.
Stay tuned for more updates from New York City’s premier source for fine jewelry: Frank Pollak & Sons.