Rare Collection Of Opals On Sale For $10.8 Million

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A private collection of opals is slowly making its way around the world being shown privately to collectors. The hoard consists of 12 uncut, untreated black opals of varying shapes and sizes acquired over a period of 100 years. The collection was put together by a group of generational miners from Lightning Ridge, Australia, a remote village about 500 miles north of Sydney that is known for black opal. It’s one of about four major opal mining regions in the country. Together it is estimated that they produce about 90 percent of the world’s opals.

The weight of the pieces in the collection runs from 21 to 6,085 carats. Collectively they produce a rainbow of luminous, iridescent color. In addition, they are 100% natural, meaning they’re uncut and untreated, according to reports on each opal by Gemological Institute of America, which described each stone as “notable.” Individually each attribute is desirable but together in a collection of this size and scope these opals are almost as rare as finding a pterodactyl in the Australian Outback.

The asking price for the collection is $10.8 million.

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Item no:C510

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Gracie Hays, a gemologist, is the representative for the seller. She and her husband, Gregory, owns The Gem Garden jewelry store in San Marcos, Calif., and separate gem cutting and jewelry design businesses. The seller has requested anonymity, which I’m honoring. I met both Hays and the seller of the collection in June during a week of jewelry trade shows in Las Vegas. I was invited to view the collection in a hotel suite and have been in contact with the business partners since. This story has been three months in the making and the result of quite a bit of negotiation. They are operating in a stealth-like enterprise as they search for buyers in a way that attracts as little attention as possible.

Hays said they would prefer to sell the collection as a whole but are willing to accept bids for each piece. They also would prefer that a museum acquire the collection to ensure it stays intact and it doesn’t get cut for jewels.

“Our preference is for them to be enjoyed by the world somewhere they would be on display. Maybe to a collector who may donate them to a museum to show the world how extraordinary these gems are,” Hays says. “We’re doing this for the first time. I’ve travel to see opals in museums and ours are better and more complete. We prefer to sell them as a collection but we will sell them individually.”

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Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonydemarco/2018/09/10/10-8-million-is-the-asking-price-for-rare-collection-of-opals/#7ac42da787c9